BOD 2nd Greatest Irish Sportsmen Ever

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Re: BOD 2nd Greatest Irish Sportsmen Ever

Postby sarah_lennon » January 3rd, 2010, 12:53 am

tackle-bag wrote: I think it was wholely inappropriate for her to simply decide that she had gotten as much as she wanted from competing for Ireland, and to switch her allegiances to Australia instead.



It was for the Commonwealth games. Last time I checked Ireland aren't in a commonwealth and as she qualified through residence, and never actually even competed afaik then fair play to her.

She was a world and european champion in her sport and she was beaten in very strange circumstances to a gold and came 2nd in a great race with Gabrielle Szabo in 2000.
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Re: BOD 2nd Greatest Irish Sportsmen Ever

Postby ceemec » January 3rd, 2010, 1:43 am

sarah_lennon wrote:She was a world and european champion in her sport and she was beaten in very strange circumstances to a gold and came 2nd in a great race with Gabrielle Szabo in 2000.


Would have been a gold medalist at more that one world championships too if it wasn't for some dubious tactics from 3 Chinese athletes who were all under a trainer who coached a large number of athletes later revealed to be drug users. Always was a bit suspicious that 6 of the 9 medals in 1993 for 1,500m, 3,000m and 10,000m went to Chinese athletes. They didn't win a single medal in at the next WC in 1995 in those events and had only won a single bronze the year before in Barcelona. They could have at least tried to make it look believable!
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Re: BOD 2nd Greatest Irish Sportsmen Ever

Postby Helium54 » January 4th, 2010, 12:13 pm

I love the comments about Sonia. Ignorance is delightful when people out time into it. Soccer and athletics are the only true global sports out there, and excellence in those fields is therefore much far difficult to achieve and should be valued higher than achievements in a variety of minority sports.

Cycling is a Euro-centric sport, with a start-up cost that is beyond most people outside of the developed world and as such the talent base is relatively narrow. Golf is even more prohibitive with the start up costs associated with it put beyond most children in the developed world, never mind the other 2/3 of the planet, and as such, while excellence in it is obviously difficult, players are coming from a very, very, very, very shallow pool of talent. When considering golf, people must remember that most people take it up in their adult years the exact opposite of nearly ever other sport. Rugby is played in a very small number of countries, and is a minority sport in most countries where it is played. In this country, the access to training that players at the top schools get places them at a considerable advantage compared to most other kids in the sport. Hurling is a minority sport in most counties of this country, and obviously Gaelic Football is just played in this country. I won't even bother with horse racing or motorbike racing.

In contrast, in nearly every country of the world children - of both genders - are exposed to the track events of the Olympics. Since the 1950s, there have been track champions from all the major population bases bar India. As such, excellence in athletics is truly a remarkable achievement, far beyond achievements in other sports (even soccer, which as a team sport would not as accurately reflect individual talent and ability). Excellence within that sport is the result of beating the best of the best available talent. I love rugby, but achievements in rugby cannot be held to those in the athletic track events.
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Re: BOD 2nd Greatest Irish Sportsmen Ever

Postby munster11 » January 5th, 2010, 2:10 am

I have to say that some of the stuff written about Sonia's achievements (or lack thereof) is truly mind-boggling. As someone said quite rightly on here, Athletics is truly a global sport, even in the poorest countries in the world. I'd say Sonia will always feel that the lack of an Olympic gold medal tainted her career but that is only because she was so so dominant in womens middle distance running from 1993-1995. Some people said John Treacy or Eamon Coghlan should be in ahead of her. Both of these men are absolute legends for what they achieved over the years. They were fantastic. But both would say that they couldn't hold a candle to Sonia's achievements.

Olympic Silver
World Championships Gold and Silver
European Championships 4 Gold and 2 Silver
World Cross Country Championships 2 Gold and 2 Bronze
World Indoor Championships Silver

These medals were won over a ten year period from 1993 to 2002 in races as diverse as the 1500m to the 10000m. Despite being pilloried by so many, she came back from the disappointment of Stuttgart when the Chinese robbed all the golds not to mention the debacle of Atlanta to break an Irish record in Sydney in 2000 and lose out narrowly to Szabo (a suspect athlete who I won't even go into).

In her heyday, she dominated her events in the same way that Bolt is dominating the sprints the past year. Unfortunately, she didn't get the gold that she so richly deserved. It's funny that Treacy is (rightly) lionised for Olympic Silver but it's a completely different story with Sonia.

I think BOD is the best rugby player I've ever seen and Harrington is brilliant too but he gets, what, 80 chances to win a major over his career? More? I'm not denigrating his triumphs. Far from it. I just think that Sonia got a handful of chances over her career to win Olympic Gold and sadly things didn't go her way but that doesn't take from her achievements.

And on the Australia point, she just wanted to compete in the Commonwealth Games (something she couldn't do for Ireland) and never even competed in the end. She's Chef de Mission for the Irish team for 2012 so I don't think there's any issue about her pride in her country.

Sorry for going on a bit but it just annoys me when people say she is overrated. I can vividly remember watching her win countless Golden League meets week after week (when no other Irish runner was even able to get into the field) and consistently win championship medals over the years to drag Ireland onto the medal table. All of this in the most competitive of sports against the cream of world middle distance running. That's why I think she richly deserves to be in the top ten on that list.
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Re: BOD 2nd Greatest Irish Sportsmen Ever

Postby Broken Wing » January 5th, 2010, 10:43 am

I think having Sonia spolied us. Frankly I'm disappointed when we don't get medals in athletics now. Thankfully we have O'Rourke flying the flag and if Martin Fagan could get an injury free year he might finally live up to his potential but with Sonia we were looking at a top three finish in almost every athletics meet she attended. She not only deserves to be on the list but should have topped it.
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Re: BOD 2nd Greatest Irish Sportsmen Ever

Postby Slipper1 » January 5th, 2010, 11:02 am

I remember the whole nation getting ready to watch Sonia and building her up to immense heights. Seeing her run and win medals all over the world on a massive international stage always made me feel proud to be Irish and even just seeing this programme and the footage of her running brought back all those memories.

To have been a consistent achiever in her chosen discipline over such a period of time and events deserves the utmost respect.
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Re: BOD 2nd Greatest Irish Sportsmen Ever

Postby Leezer » January 5th, 2010, 11:55 am

what about Michelle Smith?

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Re: BOD 2nd Greatest Irish Sportsmen Ever

Postby Cianostays » January 5th, 2010, 2:53 pm

A lot of love for Sonia and rightfully so. She was an incredible athlete for Ireland. The lack of an Olympic Gold will always be weighted against her (harshly) but that should in no way take away from her achievements. Is she in the Top ten Irish sports people ever? Absoloutley. Number 1? That's a debate that could never be resolved!
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Re: BOD 2nd Greatest Irish Sportsmen Ever

Postby CiaranIrl » January 5th, 2010, 4:05 pm

Cianostays wrote:A lot of love for Sonia and rightfully so. She was an incredible athlete for Ireland. The lack of an Olympic Gold will always be weighted against her (harshly) but that should in no way take away from her achievements. Is she in the Top ten Irish sports people ever? Absoloutley. Number 1? That's a debate that could never be resolved!


It can.... By having a public vote, which is what they did. This all about perception, so can only be done by popular vote. An award granted by vote cannot be 'wrong' really.
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Re: BOD 2nd Greatest Irish Sportsmen Ever

Postby Broken Wing » January 5th, 2010, 4:26 pm

CiaranIrl wrote:
Cianostays wrote:A lot of love for Sonia and rightfully so. She was an incredible athlete for Ireland. The lack of an Olympic Gold will always be weighted against her (harshly) but that should in no way take away from her achievements. Is she in the Top ten Irish sports people ever? Absoloutley. Number 1? That's a debate that could never be resolved!


It can.... By having a public vote, which is what they did. This all about perception, so can only be done by popular vote. An award granted by vote cannot be 'wrong' really.

As long as they use "ever" in the name of the poll they cannot be correct as they dismiss the future achievemnts of our known and as yet unknown sporting greats by limiting this poll to only present and past sport stars.

I call shenanigans!
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Re: BOD 2nd Greatest Irish Sportsmen Ever

Postby Sauvignon Blank » January 5th, 2010, 7:11 pm

Harrington is without doubt our greatest sportsperson ever..no debate. Golf is a solitary and excruciatingly difficult game to play(at major level). To win a tournament is difficult, to win an Open is ridiculously hard, to win 3 Majors takes immense talent and skill, mental strenght and balls of steel. He resides among the legends of the game yet he is only in his late 30s. He will overtake the great Seve in years to come which will be some achievement.
Sonia Sullivan was a great Athlete, but she was NEVER EVER going to win an olympic gold. She did not have that extra whatever thats required to win the big prize. How can anyone take Athletics seriously? with its endemic drug culture. Crikey, anyone remember Petra Felkas rather hirsute armpits :(
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Re: BOD 2nd Greatest Irish Sportsmen Ever

Postby johng » January 5th, 2010, 7:52 pm

Sauvignon Blank wrote:How can anyone take Athletics seriously? with its endemic drug culture.(

As opposed to Rugby?
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Re: BOD 2nd Greatest Irish Sportsmen Ever

Postby Sauvignon Blank » January 5th, 2010, 8:11 pm

johng wrote:
Sauvignon Blank wrote:How can anyone take Athletics seriously? with its endemic drug culture.(

As opposed to Rugby?


Would you care to compare the 'greats' of Rugby with the so called 'greats' of Athletics?
Michael Johnson aside there are an awful lot of cheats in athletics. Its become a joke, much like the tour de Farce.
Funny how we never see those great eastern Bloc athletes(ahem) reminiscing about their olympic gold medals on TV ever :lol:
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Re: BOD 2nd Greatest Irish Sportsmen Ever

Postby johng » January 5th, 2010, 8:36 pm

Sauvignon Blank wrote:
johng wrote:
Sauvignon Blank wrote:How can anyone take Athletics seriously? with its endemic drug culture.(

As opposed to Rugby?


Would you care to compare the 'greats' of Rugby with the so called 'greats' of Athletics?
Michael Johnson aside there are an awful lot of cheats in athletics. Its become a joke, much like the tour de Farce.
Funny how we never see those great eastern Bloc athletes(ahem) reminiscing about their olympic gold medals on TV ever :lol:

There was one of them on the other week with George Lee. Very sad story. Absolutely agree on that. And on the cleanliness of Rugby greats in the Amateur days.
Not so sure the Pro game is totally clean though.
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Re: BOD 2nd Greatest Irish Sportsmen Ever

Postby munster11 » January 5th, 2010, 8:44 pm

Sauvignon - I take your point about Athletics and drugs. The links are irrefutable.

However, on a couple of points - if there's a sport as 'solitary and excruciatingly difficult' as athletics, I have yet to meet it. Golf is not the same at all.

Also, to say that she didn't have that little extra to win an Olympic Gold is simply not true. Watch the last 400m from 2000. Szabo produced something unbelievable from nowhere to cling on when Sonia was clearly in the ascendancy. I think Harrington is brilliant (and he was a worthy winner of this poll) but if Sonia got 4 chances a year to win an Olympic Gold (if it is to be compared with a major) she would have some record. And again, to reiterate, 99.999% of young people run and, if they have the ability, are spotted. That makes her achievements on a global scale all the more commendable.
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Re: BOD 2nd Greatest Irish Sportsmen Ever

Postby exiledinmunster » January 5th, 2010, 9:09 pm

munster11 wrote:Sauvignon - I take your point about Athletics and drugs. The links are irrefutable.

However, on a couple of points - if there's a sport as 'solitary and excruciatingly difficult' as athletics, I have yet to meet it. Golf is not the same at all.

Also, to say that she didn't have that little extra to win an Olympic Gold is simply not true. Watch the last 400m from 2000. Szabo produced something unbelievable from nowhere to cling on when Sonia was clearly in the ascendancy. I think Harrington is brilliant (and he was a worthy winner of this poll) but if Sonia got 4 chances a year to win an Olympic Gold (if it is to be compared with a major) she would have some record. And again, to reiterate, 99.999% of young people run and, if they have the ability, are spotted. That makes her achievements on a global scale all the more commendable.


She did not win olympic gold therefore it is true that she did not have that little bit extra. Maybe you should watch that race again. Sonia could only get level, if she had the extra bit she would have gone past. Harrington found the "little extra" to finally win a Major, Sonia sadly could not. Greatness should always be linked with success at the highest level and Sonia never achieved this.
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Re: BOD 2nd Greatest Irish Sportsmen Ever

Postby Graham204 » January 5th, 2010, 9:29 pm

BOD for me probably number 1 but I'm biased obviously.

Keane shouldn't even be in it, no love for that man what so ever, any grievance should not be taken out on your country by walking out. Imagine POC having an arguement in a World cup with Kidney over training standards and walking out, no way would people be happy, suck it up and be a man and play the games out,waster!!

Still believe either the Americans or the husband put drugs in for Michelle Smith, don't believe for a second she did it to herself no matter what rag medias say. I don`t think she should be up with the greats by no means but the reasons to spoil her are many from allot of sides.

And I certainly agree with a few of the posts that there should be boxers in on that list, we have and have had so many greats over the years.

RTE cr@p really
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Re: BOD 2nd Greatest Irish Sportsmen Ever

Postby tackle-bag » January 6th, 2010, 7:16 am

Sauvignon Blank wrote:Harrington is without doubt our greatest sportsperson ever..no debate. Golf is a solitary and excruciatingly difficult game to play(at major level). To win a tournament is difficult, to win an Open is ridiculously hard, to win 3 Majors takes immense talent and skill, mental strenght and balls of steel. He resides among the legends of the game yet he is only in his late 30s. He will overtake the great Seve in years to come which will be some achievement.
Sonia Sullivan was a great Athlete, but she was NEVER EVER going to win an olympic gold. She did not have that extra whatever thats required to win the big prize. How can anyone take Athletics seriously? with its endemic drug culture. Crikey, anyone remember Petra Felkas rather hirsute armpits :(


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Re: BOD 2nd Greatest Irish Sportsmen Ever

Postby Broken Wing » January 6th, 2010, 10:14 am

exiledinmunster wrote:She did not win olympic gold therefore it is true that she did not have that little bit extra. .... Greatness should always be linked with success at the highest level and Sonia never achieved this.

So three Gold medals in World Championships equates to not achieving success at the highest level? Tough crowd.

Sauvignon Blank wrote:Golf is a solitary and excruciatingly difficult game to play(at major level).

I don't recall Sonia having an assistant running alongside her carrying her spare shoes and water bottle and giving advice on when to speed up.
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Re: BOD 2nd Greatest Irish Sportsmen Ever

Postby sarah_lennon » January 6th, 2010, 10:28 am

exiledinmunster wrote: Greatness should always be linked with success at the highest level and Sonia never achieved this.


The neither has BOD - no World Cup. You can equate the 6 nations with a European Gold medal

As for McGrath and Keane.... :lol:
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