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Gary and Paul O'Donovan make Irish history with rowing silver medal

Published 12/08/2016

The O'Donovan brothers are Ireland's first medallists of the Rio Games
The O'Donovan brothers are Ireland's first medallists of the Rio Games

Gary and Paul O'Donovan made history in securing Ireland's first medal of Rio 2016 as lightweight men's doubles silver represented the country's first ever Olympic rowing medal.

On a wet morning at the Lagoa, the Cork brothers shone with a fine performance that brought with it a deserved podium spot.

The O'Donovans produced the race of their life, with their trademark strong finish seeing them come from fifth at the halfway mark to win silver in six minutes 31.23 seconds.

"We set ourselves the goal of winning the Olympics in Rio," older brother Gary said.

"At the same time we knew we had to beat one of the best doubles there's ever been in France.

"We've been training our best to have what we can to put ourselves in the position to win. We're very, very happy to come away with the silver medal."

The European champions have captured the imagination in Rio de Janeiro, where their post-race interviews have racked up millions of hits.

Quotes like "close the eyes and pull like a dog" have put a smile on people's faces, so too their fine displays on the water.

"These guys over here have been racing together for about four years," Gary said.

"Paul and I only came together about two years ago. We had a national trial and Paul was really good in his single.

"Paul finished first and I finished second in that trial and we came together in a double and our goal was to win a national championship."

The duo certainly have fun and enjoy what they are doing, with the Skibbereen siblings making the most of their time in Brazil.

"We're almost like the same person," Paul said. "We've spent so long together the past years.

"We're just excited that there's other people to talk to. We can't even talk to each other because it's like talking to myself."

Ireland's Claire Lambe and Sinead Lynch were also involved in a final on Friday and finished sixth in the lightweight women's double sculls.

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