Olive hangs up her shoesAugust 16, 2012 - 5:37pm
FOUR times Olympian Olive Loughnane confirmed that London 2012 would be her final Olympic Games before she joined the Team Ireland athletes at a civic reception at the Mansion House in Dublin on Wednesday.
The 36-year old Loughrea woman told Tribune Sport that there was no going back on her decision to rule out competing at Rio in 2016 following her 13th place finish in the 20km walk on Saturday.
Loughnane set off at a blistering pace, but found the going tough in the closing stages of a race which was run by Russian athlete Elena Lashmanova in a world record time of 1:25.02.
“The Russians were ‘super human’ and there was nothing I could to about that. I had hoped for a bit more from the race, but it was won in a world record time.”
Loughnane, silver medalist at the World Championships in Berlin three years ago, finished in 13th place and over four minutes behind the winner in a season’s best time of 1:29.39. “I went off very, very fast and I paid the price for that later on. But I did not want to have any regrets afterwards. I always said it was going to be my last Olympic Games.”
She was thrilled for teammate Laura Reynolds (24), from Mohill, Co Leitrim, who finished in 20th place in a personal best time of 1:31.02. Reynolds only booked her place in London, her first major championships as a senior, with a strong 1:33.30 run in Spain four weeks before the qualifying deadline.
Robert Heffernan (Togher AC, Cork) ensured it was a memorable day for competitive Irish walkers with a fourth place finish in the 50km walk earlier on Saturday.
Loughnane went home to Cork, where she has been living for some years, to join her husband Martin and daughter Eimear (6) after flying back to Dublin on Monday. But she returned to the capital to join the Team Ireland celebrations on Wednesday.
Galway’s other Olympian, sprinter Paul Hession, finished in fifth place in the 200m heats on Tuesday of last week. He finished in a time of 20.69 seconds, narrowly missing out on a place in the semi-finals of an event which was won out by Jamaican superstar Usain Bolt.