The O’Donovan brothers, Gary and Paul, hail from Lisheen, Ireland. Introduced to rowing by their dad at a young age, they both took to it immediately but it was Paul who’d leave his mark on the junior rowing scene: a slew of international accomplishments, although both represented Ireland at junior level.
Being an Olympian is a lifestyle
Rio 2016 was the goal, but 2016 was a prolific year for the brothers, with a gold medal at the European Rowing Championships, and silver at the World Rowing Cup in Italy, there was a growing suspicion that the brothers could be the real deal, and then they qualified for Rio!
“Pull like a dog” was their favourite wisecrack but when they announced themselves as medal contenders for the lightweight double skulls in Rio, suddenly nobody found it funny anymore. These were actual contenders, something brand new for Ireland who have never contended at this stage in rowing before. Surely not these two guys?
Time to pull like dogs for real.
The brothers only really know two coaches: their father Teddy O’Donovan and Dominic Casey, who coach at their local club. Rowers from Skibbereen Rowing Club don’t win Olympic Medals, surely? Well, turns out these two do. Barely kept from the top step by the fancied French team, these brave boys brought silver to Skibbereen.