What does it take to win? And how do you create and shape a winning sports strategy? In the run up to the Olympics Games in Rio 2016 we explore Ireland’s sporting track record and ask how we develop and support talent to succeed.
In this exploratory documentary we delve into our sports strategy and infrastructure and assess Ireland’s sporting mindset, investment and talent development system; how well do we support talent in the competitive arena? We talk to both former and current athletes, those with an eye on Rio and beyond, and those shaping and leading sport development initiatives, policy and training. How well do we use our resources to connect young talent with the support to achieve their potential? How do we compare with other countries?
Past champions such as Sonia O’Sullivan, Catherina McKiernan, Eamonn Coghlan, John Treacy and Michael Carruth talk about their own experiences at the cutting edge of elite performance. They go into depth about what separates the great from the greatest and where Ireland’s strengths and weaknesses lie in Olympic competition.
The success of Irish boxing in recent years is set to go from strength to strength. Darren O’Neill, along with RTÉ sportsperson of the year and Rio qualified Michael Conlan tell delve into what it takes to compete at the highest level. Guided by Zauri Antia, the future of Irish boxing looks as bright as ever, Zauri’s love for his sport is contagious as he talks about his boxers and their future – can the boxing programme, responsible for 16 of Ireland’s 28 Olympics medals, be replicated by other sports? One of the visionaries behind the creation of the High Performance unit, Gary Keegan, provides great insight into the inner workings of the support structures in place in Irish sport.
Another uniquely Irish sporting story is the Gaelic games. The gradual adoption of cutting edge sports science and an evidence based approach to the sport means that a whole new level of performance is now expected. Dublin’s Jonny Cooper and Dr. Brendan Egan, who straddles both worlds as a lecturer in exercise metabolism in UCD and active player for Sligo talk about this shift and what it means for future champions. DCU’s Prof. Niall Moyna discusses how other sports can learn from the GAA’s incredible grassroots support base and his colleague Enda Fitzpatrick, Head of Athletics at DCU, talks about the vital role of third level institutions for athletes on the brink of success
What lies ahead for Ireland’s future athletes? DCU’s Dara Kervick, coached by the perennial John Shields is one of the many young talents we talk to, along with Thomas Barr and Mark English, both of whom have qualified for Rio in 400m hurdles and 800m respectively. Wheelchair racer Patrick Monahan is an exemplar of the burning intrinsic desire needed to break national records and compete on the world stage. He talks about the challenges he’s faced and what keeps him motivated to train alone, twice a day with such intensity now that Rio is in his crosshairs.
The National Sports Campus is a showcase centre of excellence designed to cater for the next generation of youth talent and elite high performers alike. Modern Pentathletes Arthur Lanigan O’Keeffe and Natalya Coyle are flourishing in this new facility and have their gaze fixed on medal wins on the international stage. CEO of the Campus, Dave Conway, along with current and former Performance Directors for Paralympics Ireland Dave Malone and Nancy Chillingworth discuss the importance of facilities like these and how they shape our sports strategy.
Tania Rosser, scrum-half for Ireland, brings her International perspective to the world of Irish rugby and talks about how the sporting landscape is changing for women in Irish Sport. Former National Endurance Coach for Athletics Ireland, Welshman Chris Jones, provides an outsider’s perspective on a system he now knows inside out, as does colin boreham Director, Institute for Sport & Health at UCD. Long time athletics correspondent Ian O’Riordan gives his unique insight into the overarching frameworks that determine our success on an international scale. An influencer at this level is Stephen Martin, CEO of the Olympic Council of Ireland, who talks about his path from being an Olympian in Hockey to helping to prepare the next generation for their own Olympic dreams.
The programme’s narrator is veteran sports journalist and award-winning broadcaster Con Murphy. He has worked in radio and television two decades for broadcasters such as RTÉ, Setanta Sports and TV3, primarily on sports programming. His TV and radio sports coverage spanned a wide range of sports, from League of Ireland soccer to Ryder Cup Golf. Con was a long-time presenter on RTÉ Two’s Monday Night Soccer and Sunday Sports on RTÉ Radio 1 and anchored RTÉ’s radio coverage of the Summer Olympics from 1996 to 2012. How To Win will be broadcast on Setanta Sports on May 31st 2016
How To Win is an Athena Media production for Eir Sport made with the support of the BAI and the TV licence fee.