We caught up with one of our Rio hopefuls Patrick O’Leary who did a quick questions and answers session to give you a better insight into how he got involved and what keeps him motived:
1. Name:Patrick O’Leary
2. Age:43 (ouch that hurts to write it down)
3. Home location: Moycullen Galway
4. Are you in college/school/training full time or working? Lecturer in NUI Galway School of Chemistry since 2004, researching in Organic chemistry
5. Sport: Paracanoeing
6. Club training with:associated with NUI Galway but mostly train on my own
7. Years in current sport: Canoeing 26 years though only a paracanoeist for 3 (since I lost my leg)
8. What got you started:in secondary school. A teacher in Cork, Colaiste an Spioraid Naoimh Cork Mr O’Connor brought a group of us canoeing and I caught the bug which I continued with in UCC canoe club during my degree and further study there and then with Phoenix Kayak club in Cork and Keistad in the Netherlands
9. Do you have any previous Games experience and if so how did you find it?No
10. What is your biggest accomplishment in your sports? I have had a very varied sporting career ever before paracanoe. I was involved in Gymnastics and Sports acrobatics from a young age winning novice all Irelands and then did the throws events in athletics winning a schoolboy allireland in the shot and representing Ireland in an international event. I played with Ireland in Canoe polo for several years and represented the country at a European and world championship. I played canoe polo in Holland for two years while working as a researcher in Utrecht and was part of the team that finished third in their league. My Twitter name @eentjebeen comes from the dutch for ‘just one leg’
In paracanoe I have represented Ireland in 3 world championships (12th 9th 9th ) and 3 european championships (9th 9th 4th ) 2 world cups (5th and 4th) and in the test event in Rio (3rd) This years European championships in Racice where I finished 4th was my biggest sporting achievement.
11. If you could revisit one moment in your career what moment would you choose? My first ever paracanoe sprint race in Nottingham England. I would enjoy it more if I knew how far it was going to lead
12. What are your future aspirations in sport? Qualify for Rio, go there in the best possible shape, have no regrets and try to go faster in Rio than ever before and hope it is enough.
13. Where do you draw your inspiration from? Family are my rock. Jude has been an astounding support on this journey
14. Is there a team mate or someone in the sport that you most admire and why? I admire anyone who has the courage to stand up for what they believe and stick with it
15. Do you have a mentor/coach that has or had a major influence on you? I have been very lucky to train with some super groups Canoeing in Cork, Swimming in Galway who along with my coach Neil have influenced me hugely
16. Do you have a saying or motto that you live your life by? Eat well, Train hard, race at 100% everytime and enjoy it all while you do it
17. Your favourite thing to do outside of Canoeing? Camping holidays with Jude and the boys
18. What music do you listen to pre competition? Anything from Christy Moore or Guns n roses ‘Patience’
19. Your favourite movie? Godfather (all of them) Shawshank redemption, as good as it gets, Blazing saddles, Lord of the rings trilogy
20. Your guiltiest indulgence? I have no guilt about the amount I love to read.