Back in January 2020 we brought together a group of 120 Sport for Business Members for a special morning at the Aviva Stadium looking ahead to the year that was about to unfold.
Among our speakers, that day was a teenage swimmer who had just been part of the winning team at Ireland’s Fittest Family and was hopeful of making her way to a career-best performance at the Tokyo Olympic Games.
It took twelve months longer than Mona McSharry or any of us might have imagined but over the first days of the re-scheduled games she has lain down a marker as one of our brightest sporting stars.
She has developed her skills first in Ireland and now in the US Collegiate system and in the Tokyo Pool, she became only the second ever Irish swimmer to make an Olympic Final.
The scale of that achievement is perhaps lost on many but in a sport where the world competes and in which there is such enormous strength in depth it is remarkable.
Her post-race interviews with Paul O’Flynn of RTÉ were equally memorable and reflect a personality as well as a performer that we can only wish to a brighter future again, leading hopefully towards Paris in 2024 but also serving as an ambassador to get more young swimmers active in the sport.
There have been darker days for Swim Ireland, some of which from George Gibney to Michelle Smith continue to cast a shadow, but shadows fade in the light and Mona McSharry is as bright a one of those as we could hope for.
She is our Irish Olympian of the Day and few over the next couple of weeks will be more deserving.
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