History was made by Team Ireland at the Tokyo Olympics. For the first time Ireland won gold medals in different sports. It was also the first time that both men and women earned that precious gold. It is the 22nd time we've competed in the Summer Olympic Games, and we've earned eleven gold medals so far. There should be no underestimating the scale of these achievements!
Here's the full list:
Irish Gold Medals At The Olympics:
Pat O'Callaghan - Athletics: Hammer Throw - 1928 and 1932
When O'Callaghan won hammer gold in 1928, the world and Olympic records were both held by Irishmen. WR holder Patrick Ryan and Matt McGrath were representing the USA though in 1913 and 1912 respectively. After independence, our first Olympic medal was gold with O'Callaghan's final throw of the hammer in LA. 4 years later in Amsterdam he repeated and he remains the only Irish man with 2 gold medals and the only Irish athlete to win gold in more than one Olympic Games.
Bob Tisdall - Athletics: 400m Hurdles - 1932
Within an hour at the 1932 Games in Amsterdam Ireland had won it's second of the games and the third of our young Olympic history. Relative novice Bob Tisdall became the first man to under 52 seconds to win the 400m hurdles ahead of USA's Glenn Hardin. As Tisdall had knocked a hurdle down, his world record was not notified with the silver winner getting that title. Tisdall had the big prize though; an Olympic gold medal.
Ron Delany - Athletics: 1,500m - 1956
Ireland had to wait 24 years and three Olympic games until we could next hear Amhrán na bhFiann play at a medal ceremony. Wicklow's Ronnie Delany caused a huge upset by winning the 1,500m in Melbourne by out kicking his rivals down the home straight.
Michael Carruth - Boxing: Welterweight - 1992
It was an even longer weight for gold number 5; 9 Games and 36 years before Michael Carruth won our first gold in a sport other than track and field athletics in Barcelona. Carruth's heroic win over the favourite - Juan Hernandez from Cuba - was also the first gold medal to be broadcast live on Irish television.
Michelle Smith - Swimming: 200m & 400 Individual Medley, 400m Freestyle - 1996
At the Atlanta Games, Michelle Smith broke all sorts of Irish Olympic records; first woman to win a medal, first woman to win gold, first swimming medal, first to win more than one medal at a games (she also won bronze in the 200m butterfly) and more.
She's still Ireland's most decorated Olympian.
Two years after Atlanta, Smith was charged with adulterating an out of competition sample. She received a four year ban, and despite continuing to plead her innocence through the process, she never swam again. She never tested positive for a banned substance.
In terms of the record books, Michelle Smith has won three gold medals at the Olympics for Ireland.
Katie Taylor - Boxing: Lightweight - 2012
A 16 year wait for gold number nine and this one really caught the heart of the nation.
A quietly spoken woman from Bray was the world's most dominant boxer for years but had to wait for women's boxing to be introduced to the Olympic schedule in 2012. Taylor won three fights and each of them appointment viewing at home in Ireland. Her final win over Russia's Sofya Ochigava was met with waves of celebration.
Her gold medal was the first in the social media age and she became a worldwide star.
Paul O'Donovan and Fintan McCarthy - Rowing: Lightweight Double Sculls - 2020(1)
Gold medal number ten for Ireland is the first to be shared by a team. The Irish lightweight double sculls boat won silver in Rio and had established itself as the best in the world in the years that followed. Powered by O'Donovan and McCarthy, they eased through the preliminaries before racing to gold in the early hours of the morning Irish time beating Germany and Italy to the line.
Kellie Harrington - Boxing: Lightweight - 2020(1)
The 2018 World Champion went into the Olympics as the number one seed but the field was stacked with world and regional medalists. She comfortable qualified for the semi final where she met Thailand's Sudaporn Seesondee. As she had in the world final of 2018, Kellie got the nod in a split decision to make her way to the final. Despite losing the opening round to the 2019 World champion, Brazil's Beatriz Ferreira, she battled back to win the second and third rounds to earn Ireland's 11th gold medal in Olympic history and our third in boxing. Her affable personality catapulted her into Irish hearts and minds back home.
Let's hope we can add to the list in Paris.