Belfast Telegraph

Friday 1 August 2014

Editor's Viewpoint: Brothers are a true inspiration

Of course Peter and Richard Chambers will be disappointed that they did not win gold in their rowing final yesterday at the Olympics.

The whole of Northern Ireland, indeed most of the UK, share in that disappointment. The two Coleraine brothers along with their other two crew members put in a Herculean effort in a bid for victory and were denied by the narrowest of margins. As so often happens in sport, they beat the most obvious dangers but lost out to opponents regarded as less likely winners.

But to say that we are disappointed in their silver medal performance is not a criticism but a compliment. For they showed - as they have done in the past - that they are the equal of any rowers in their discipline and had a realistic chance of gaining the major prize. By contrast, we think of other competitors as possible medal winners, hoping that they can get on the podium rather than expecting them to.

But their silver medals are still much-prized. To be part of a team which is the second best in the world - and by a rapidly diminishing margin - is an awesome performance. That two brothers from a small place like Northern Ireland, who both learned their skills at the same club on the River Bann, should achieve that level is even more mind boggling.

However, it is no surprise to those who know them well and who have watched their development over the years.

As stories in this newspaper today reveal, Peter and Richard are supremely dedicated as well as talented.

They have taken their gifts and honed them to perfection while all the time remaining well-liked by everyone who meets them.

They have stuck by their family values of hard work, regular attendance at church and decency.

As rowers they may have got a silver medal; as men they have gold medal characters.

They have done themselves and Northern Ireland proud.

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