Fintan McCarthy winning an Olympic gold medal can be an inspiration for young people who are not good at team sports, according to his family.
The rower's sister Caitlin said in particular he was never a man for Gaelic football or other team sports.
“It feels like a dream. I think it shows the least likely person can do it if they put their mind to it. He used to run away from a ball if it was thrown at him as a kid,” she said.
Fintan's twin brother, Jake, says in Ireland the emphasis for young people is primarily on GAA and sports other than rowing. He stresses that it is important to give children the opportunity to try a number of sports in order to find what suits them.
“The vibe in Ireland is GAA and other sports. If people are not interested in that type of thing there are other possibilities out there.
“There are other avenues for people to explore. He started rowing at 15 and was a bit late to the sport, but he just kept at it. He wasn't good at any other sport.”
— Team Ireland (@TeamIreland) July 29, 2021
Glowing with pride Jake said they are hoping that Fintan's success will inspire other young people to take up rowing.
“When Gary and Paul (O’Donovan) got the medal in Rio the numbers that started rowing in the area hugely increased. Hopefully now this will be the same and people will get involved in rowing. I was training for the World University Championships back then.
(After winning the silver medal) we (Jake and Fintan) had a big debrief. We put our plans together in place. He got it this time. It wasn't meant to be for me but hopefully some time in the future.”
Jake, who is also a talented rower and member of Skibbereen rowing club, joked that they would keep Fintan 'humble' when he got back to Cork.
Speaking from the family home outside Skibbereen mother Sue said that Fintan had informed her that his phone was “broken” from all the messages he was receiving from home.
She said she was “gutted” not to have been in Toyko for the historic moment.
Sue is hopeful that Fintan and his rowing partner Paul O’Donovan will be back in Ireland on Sunday and is looking forward to some sort of celebration.
“Everyone will do what they can. Obviously at the moment restrictions prevent us from doing anything huge but we will see what we can do and do the best we can."
Sue emphasised the importance of funding for sports such as rowing whilst her husband, Tom, said athletes always have to look to their futures post sport.Fintan
“(Along with training) they have to countermanage their education and the financial side of trying to support themselves post sport. That is the same time as training. It is tough all around. “
Tom added that they were beyond elated as a family. “I am proud of everybody. I am delighted for them. They deserve it all.”
Super scenes!! https://t.co/LvgM9j3hik
— Skibbereen Rowing (@skibbrowing) July 29, 2021