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Team Ireland - Paris 2024 Qualification Tracker Road to Paris 2024


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So I seem to be in a very different place and a lot higher on our medal hopes than the rest of you so let’s go through our medal chances and see where we disagree.


Now first of all I agree that qualification over the last couple of months has not gone well. My rudimentary projections had gone as high as 139 but are now back down to 133 (In predictions thread). The race walk mixed relay and all of our male marathon runners failing to qualify/ (probably) only getting one diver and Rachael Darragh inexplicably falling out of a rankings spot (although she is first up for a (likely?) reallocation) have hurt our numbers plus Gymnasts not named Rhys, Thammy Nguyen and the men’s double in badminton while none of which were likely qualifiers they were chances that are now gone. Plus we are behind schedule in boxing and maybe in swimming (maybe even athletics although still very early in the outdoor season).


I’m not that concerned about slow starts to the season in rowing/ boxing. Our rowing squad started this year better than it did at Europeans last year and I take a strange comfort in the fact that all of our qualified boxers looked off the pace at European championships.


Anyway this is how I see our medal hopes. Using the format of favourites/ contenders and outside chances that I think I used before but I think I was slightly more generous with my classifications on this occasion.






Rhasidat Adeleke- Has shown good pace so far this year and while she was burnt out by the time world champs came around last year every other year of her career she has managed to peak at the right time. Obviously Sydney McLaughlin :USA is almost impossible to beat and Marileidy Paulino :DOM, Shaunau Miller Uibo :BAH could well be running sub 49, not to mention the numerous other contenders (Sada Williams :BAR, Natalia Kaczmarek :POL, Salwa Eid Naser :BRN, whoever else comes through US trials, etc). Based on world relays form she probably is the favourite for silver (Could push McLaughlin? too optimistic but let me dream.). There are definitely numerous ways this doesn’t end up with Adeleke on the podium but we have one of the best athletes in the world and should as such be very confident.


Mixed 4*400m- There is a medal available here behind the Dutch and the USA and after world relays it is ours for the taking and this event possibly proves that not having Adeleke probably cost us a podium spot last year. We probably need the men to be faster but there is over a second between Cillín Greene's opening split and Chris O’Donnell at his best and chances are one of Jack Raftery, Cillín Greene, Robert McDonnell, Calum Baird or Thomas Barr could split low 45s for the third leg when the Olympics come around which means I think we can reliably get down to around 3:10.0 (holding Mawdsley and Adeleke’s combined time constant.). That time has never failed to medal at a a global championships. (Side note but had we been bothered to qualify it for world relays the mens 4*400 would have had a shot at qualifying, not a great one given current form but, we definitely don’t have a shot at running the 2:59.1 it would take now presumably at Europeans to get one of the remaining spots compared with the 2:03.0 or so it took in Nassau (I say this even with Greene and Barr running the mixed because there really isn’t much difference between our best 6/7 men’s 400m relay options). Anyway ye, the mixed 4*400 I was going to just call a contender but I think after world relays this is now a favourite to medal.




Ciara Mageean- 4th in the world last year but I guess Faith Kipyegon :KEN, Sifan Hassan :NED and three of Diribe Welteji :ETH, Freweyni Hailu :ETH, the up and coming Birke Haylom :ETH, possibly Gudaf Tsegay :ETH and Hirut Meshesha :ETHaren’t going to be any easier to beat this year plus there is Laura Muir to think about as well. I don’t think Mageean is going to medal but we know she is in contention.


Women’s 4*400- Would possibly take a baton drop/ equivalent misfortune or two for us to medal but I mean they happen. Needing to make the final without Adeleke complicates things obviously but, we did last year although the Olympics are different and I don't think that time woud be good enough but that was without Phil Healy. For a hypothethical final looking at the split times we could take a couple of seconds of the 3:24.3 we ran in the heats at world relays with a rested Mawdsley and Adeleke (I guess Adeleke wouldn't be that rested at that point though.) but would probably need to run 3:21.0 or so to have a chance at medalling which is another step up again. I suspect both 3:21 and making the final without Adeleke are both slightly beyond us but a medal is just about on the table.


Outside chances-


Adeleke in the 200m? (I’m joking but I would have seriously suggested this if the mixed relay wasn’t also a medal contender.)


I don’t really see a world where any other athletics individuals win an Olympic medal but I mean Thomas Barr came largely out of nowhere in 2016. Sarah Healy, Sophie O’Sullivan, Andrew Coscoran could make finals and we have a couple of other outside chances at finals (Reece Ademola?) but I don’t think anyone else has a medal ceiling.






Kellie Harrington- She has been kind of due a loss but to be honest she didn’t really seem in shape at Europeans. Lightweight was shaping up to being significantly weaker compared to how strong it was in 2021 with no more Potkonen :FIN, Ellis :USA, Dubois :GBR or Seesondee :THA and none of them really being replaced but Amy Broadhurst defection changes that slightly. Angie Valdes Pana :COL is probably the only true medal contender to truly emerge this Olympic cycle and Harrington would beat her in my opinion. Harrington hasn’t looked anywhere near her best at any point this Olympic cycle although the closest was the European games medal fights after she had qualification secured. Due to their being a lack of other major contenders I think it’s unlikely she doesn’t medal but she is going to need to be at her 2018 worlds/ 2021 Olympics peak to retain gold and beating one or both of Broadhurst/ Beatriz Ferreira :BRA in the process. Then again it is strange to say that I don’t think she wins gold and then list two boxers she has beaten before as her primary competition.


Aoife O’Rourke- Has ticked every box you are looking for in an Olympic medallist over the past couple of years. 3 European titles, 2 Strandja titles, 27-1 record, 3 wins against boxers she lost to in the previous Olympic cycle, has beaten 7 of the other 11 boxers currently qualified. I’m still not sure whether they will seed the Olympics but if they do she will be seeded and the risk of facing Tammara Thibeault :CAN probably before the final would be gone. All that said for some reason I don’t entirely trust her to medal, Just too many split decisions and fights where she gives her opponent a chance. Despite having beaten them before I wouldn’t really want to see Lovlina Borgohain :IND or Cindy Ngamba :IOC again at the Olympics. She should medal, her results/ performances/ previous experience say she should medal, I don’t quite trust it though.




Kelyn Cassidy- Obviously hasn’t qualified but he has proven to be a top 8 boxer in his weightclass and crucially has proven to be able to beat boxers that might on paper be more talented than him. I don’t think Oleksandr Khyzniak :UKR, Arlen Lopez :CUB or Nurbek Oralbay :KAZ would want to face him at all. (Slightly unrelated but I was thinking about what a hypothethical 2028 squad would look like and I don’t think anyone would have thought Kelyn would reach the level he has and hopefully the Olympics if you were doing that exercise in 2020/ early 2021. Just interesting the weightclasses that we don't have an obvious succesor if one is required.) Assuming he qualifies, before the draws happen, I think he may well be our best male medal hope in boxing.


Jack Marley- Hasn’t had a good 2024, Has looked indecisive and almost unsure of himself but like he did deserve to beat Victor Schelstraete at Europeans and the Belgian is an awkward opponent who gave Olympic medallist Loren Alfonso Dominguez :AZE similar trouble in his next fight, Dominguez just got the 4-3 decision in his favour. I did put him too high in my rankings in December but I do still feel he is a medal contender. Heavyweight is pretty open behind Aziz Abbes Mouhiidine :ITA with Keno Machado :BRA, an old Julio Cesar La Cruz :CUB and Lazizbek Mullojonov :UZB behind and then some combination of Enmanuel Reyes :ESP, Marley himself, Aibek Oralbay :KAZ along with the likes of Georgi Kushitashvili :GEO and Jamar Talley :USA (who haven’t qualified yet) in contention. At his best Marley can go toe to toe with everyone except Mouhiidine but on current form he would need a favourable draw just to win a fight. I’m willing to bet he is back in the form he was in at European games by the Olympics and while I wouldn’t pick him for a medal I do think he is in contention.


Jude Gallagher- I am willing to just about put Jude Gallagher in the contenders tier because its only really Abdumalik Khalokov :UZB and Jahmal Harvey :USA that I wouldn’t give him a shot at winning against (Luiz Oliveira :BRA might belong in that tier too on review), There will be probably 5-8 boxers he would go in as an underdog against but I mean he has a shot, needs some luck with the draw but not ridiculous luck.


Aidan Walsh- Can’t really not call him a contender given that he won a medal last time, He probably either doesn’t qualify or is in contention, 71kg still lacks a clear cut top tier so he draw in this weight class is less about the difficulty of prospective opponents and more just about getting/ avoiding specific matchups.


Daina Moorehouse- So we have already established that I am much higher on Daina Moorehouse than others are here. She hasn’t qualified yet obviously and flyweight is proving to be one of the strongest women’s Olympic weight classes. Not qualifying though would be a massive failure given that we have won a silver and a gold medal at recent European championships with two different boxers in this division. It is tough to see Moorehouse beating Nikhat Zareen :INDor Buse Cakiroglu :TUR but beyond that the next tier is roughly Sabina Bobokulova :UZB, Wu Yu :CHN, Chuthamat Raksat :THA and Wassila Lkhadiri :FRAall of whom Moorehouse definitely could beat. Fell just short against Lkhadiri and Bobokulova at the qualifiers but both fights were incredibly close.


Grainne Walsh- There is a path to a medal here, I do think Grainne is at her peak and she will almost certainly qualify. Reigning 69kg Olympic champion Busnenaz Surmeneli :TUR is the favourite with Imane Khelif :ALG and Yang Liu :CHN behind but after that I don’t have a clear guage on the next 8/9 boxers with Grainne Walsh being somewhere in that group. You can play the well beat/ got picked over Broadhurst/ Lisa O’Rourke and they have beaten Khelif, Yang, Suwannepheng :THA, Panguane :MOZ game and therefore conclude Grainne Walsh is one the primary contenders or you can look at Walsh’s 2018/2019 results and convince yourself she is unlikely to win a fight. The truth is probably somewhere in the middle and if that makes her contender or not I’m not sure.


Outside chances-


Michaela Walsh- Maybe this categorisation is harsh but Michaela Walsh I think has shown us who she is as a boxer and it just isn’t a global medallist. The Stheylene Grosy :FRA loss at Europeans probably wasn’t as bad as it seems on the surface (talented young boxer and style mismatch) but losing to Mijgona Samadova at Strandja was a mess. You have to wonder if Walsh had gotten a tougher draw at European games would she have even qualified at all. If she can find her form she can compete with anyone in this weight class but on current form even with a somewhat favourable draw she won’t win a fight.


Dean Clancy- Clearly a tier below the big medal contenders (Oumiha :FRA, Baatarsukh? :MGL (potential doping violation), Abdullaev :UZB, Guruli :GEO) but look is probably somewhere in the 7/8/9 range of the currently qualified boxers so there is path to a medal with a very favourable draw it is just is tough to see at the moment.


Jennifer Lehane- I mean she beat Sara Cirkovic :SRB last year who now looks a major contender and look bantamweight is a mess of good but not elite boxers. I don’t think I would currently pick her to qualify but she is just about in the get the right draw and an Olympic medal could be possible. Niamh Fay’s recent form has been pretty encouraging so it was bit of surprise there wasn’t more of a consideration to switching it up for the last qualifier. I think Fay is the natural succesor to Michaela Walsh at 57kg.


Canoe Slalom


Outside chances-


Liam Jegou- Can make the final if things go well, from there who knows.


Noel Hendrick?- I think is too optimistic to even consider right.






Ben Healy- road race- Ultimately not as successful a classics season as last year but his form is mostly there. It will be interesting who we select as the second rider. Eddie Dunbar is the default pick I suppose but the course doesn’t suit him at all (Crashing out of the Giro doesn’t help either. Seriously after struggling all year, he gives us one day to get excited his GC prospects (outside shot at the podium) and then crashes again. He has to be the most brittle rider in existence right.)  Sam Bennett’s form is maybe? improving (definitely a maybe), he at least won a sprint at Pays de la Loire albeit with a solo winner out front. If he doesn’t win at 4 jours de Dunkerque that might be the tour gone again this year although look its no longer Bora who have continued their tradition for the 5/6th  straight year of screwing their best sprinter out of a grand tour selection by dropping Sam Welsford for the giro. Obviously current Sammy is not going to be competitive at the Olympics and while the route isn’t that hard, it will be raced like a very chaotic classic (I think Bretagne classic is the best comparison just with Van der Poel and Pogacar). But maybe you pick Sammy because strange things happen maybe it does inexplicably end up with like a solo winner and a forty rider sprint for second or third because this is of course is the one cycling race where 2nd  or 3rd  really mean something plus just Sammy has never been to the Olympics, if we had a better track program he would have gotten there when he was younger but Rio was mountainous/ before his time and then Tokyo again was hilly and as it turned out he would have been injured anyway. Anyway, I kind of think the right pick is Darren Rafferty, I feel like we will pick Eddie or Sammy, Ryan Mullen would only make sense if he was still a good time trialist and Ben Healy wasn’t and Archie Ryan falls into the same category as Eddie in that the climbs aren’t long or steep enough for him to realistically contribute. Didn’t really end up talking much at all about Ben Healy but like he is exactly the type of rider that wins Olympic medals and the route should suit him.


Lara Gillespie- Women’s omnium- Narrowly fourth at Europeans and look the standard does go up for the Olympics in track cycling more than any other sport. I don’t think she has mastered the elimination race yet which will hurt her chances but she has been in good form on the road albeit not at world tour level and she is at worst in amongst it plus could possibly still sneak under the radar a little bit.






Showjumping team- Narrowly 4th at the world championships in 2022, 2nd at Europeans in 2023 and won the recent Ocala League of nations event against as far as my limited equestrian knowledge could tell were close to full strength competition. I mean it always feels like we could medal if not win the team showjumping competition and yet we never have but hopefully this is finally our year.




Cian O’Connor (Maurice)/ Daniel Coyle (Legacy)/ Darragh Kenny (Amsterdam 27). It is very possible that we select a different team than this and I’m not sure entirely sure who the relevant horses are (just listed the ones from Ocala) which is as important to our chances as who is riding them but we should have three in the final and lets see what happens from there.


Eventing team- 5th at the worlds in 2022. Whether or not we are able to get on to the podium for the first time ever is debatable but we are at worst in contention if other teams struggle/ make mistakes.


Outside chance-


Eventing individual- Austin O’Connor, Padraig McCarthy.- honestly no idea so lets just include them.






Rory McIlroy- I think Rory medals if not wins here. We are due a golf medal and both he and Shane have talked about wanting this more after missing out in Tokyo. Plus ye know it’s not a major so like Rory is allowed to win.




Shane Lowry, Leona Maguire- Neither are quite in their peak form although it does feel like both are maybe due a major, certainly Leona is and Shane has been up there enough that he could conceivably win a second. Both will be major contenders but like its golf so who knows whether they ultimately medal or not.


Outside chance-


Stephanie Meadow- Briefly threatened in Tokyo, definitely possible she could contend this time but it is not a great chance.






Rhys McClenaghan- Obviously back to back world champion, changed his routine a bit for Europeans and scored 15.300 which is his best score with this code of points along with the 2022 world final. 6.5 D score but I believe if he upped his dismount he could get it up to 6.6/6.7. the difficulty score could be crucial as Max Whitlock :GBR is likely to start at 6.9 or 7.0 which means if Rhys is giving up more than 0.2/0.3 in difficulty he essentially needs Whitlock to make a mistake to have a chance at winning because judges don't give out execution scores over about 9.1. Additionnally, Nariman Kurbanov :KAZ, Ahmad Abu Al Soud :JOR and Lee Chih Kai :TPE (needs to win the Asian all-around quota to qualify but I believe is the favourite for it) have all shown the ability to score 15.4/15.5s albeit only Lee Chih Kai has done it at world championship level. I think ultimately a clean routine gets Rhys on the podium but he will likely need the performance of his life to win. Then again he is at his peak, he has been through the heartbreaker of Tokyo and like this is it, if he is ever going to produce that performance it’s got to be in Paris.




I’m not panicking over early season results, Every Olympic boat (Of course we haven't seen the lightweight doubles yet) except the womens four lost at its opening regatta to at least one boat it beat at last years worlds and produced fairly similar performances to last years Europeans and while its not ideal I’m not panicking with this squad.




Men’s lightweight double- I mean its going to win gold, not much else to say.


Men’s double- The men’s double is the most volatile boat in rowing, None of the 2022 podium was still on the podium in 2023 and only one (France) kept their podium position from 2021-2022 and China from 2019-2021. The Sinkovic’s switching boat classes all but guarantees there will be one change but us and the Dutch both keeping our podium positions would be bucking the recent trend. Based on the early regattas Romania’s new combination and Germany seemingly could be threats plus the more established Italy and Spain. I do think this was the boat in the best shape of our Olympic boats at World cup 1/ Europeans and I would currently pick it for a medal but it will inevitably be very close. Philip Doyle's record of making the podium in A finals is very good although I'm not sure that actually means much.




Women’s pair- Haven’t really yet proven they can beat any of the Dutch, Romanians or Australians one of whom they would need to beat to get on the podium. They were at least close to the Dutch at world cup 1 albeit the Dutch also tend to start their season a bit slower and then peak at the end of the season. This pair could absolutely medal and the young Greek pair is probably the only other boat that could break into the top 4.


Men’s pair- It feels a little bit harsh to not put the reigning world bronze medallist as favourites but a. Their world cup 1 performance was terrible albeit with the caveat of a disrupted build up and b. Romania underperformed in last year’s final and they have shifted their squad around (I’m unsure whether or not Marius Cozmiuc and Sergiu Bejan will come back into the boat or not) but either way Romania are major contenders. There are five big contenders here with the Swiss, GB, Romania, Croatia and us in roughly that order although the swiss only managed 3rd at Europeans. This will be tough and unlike our above boats, lack of Olympic experience could be a factor. Would be disappointing if we don’t make the A final but from there I have no idea what order these boats will finish in.


Women’s lightweight double- I (perhaps delusionally) think this boat was on track to retain its world bronze medal before they got screwed by the lane draw/ weather in the semis at worlds last year. There are a ton of contenders in this boat class, GB, USA, Romania who have their 2017/2018 world champion combination back together, Canada, New Zealand ,us, maybe Poland and whichever two of Greece, France and Italy and can come through FOQR. World cup ii will be interesting but given the quality of the boats at FOQR there is every chance we won’t have a complete picture of this boatclass until the Olympics. I quietly like our chances though and if I had to pick one of the 4 boats I have listed as a contender here to medal it might be this one.


Women’s double- Rough start to the year with the injury that kept them out of world cup I and then kind of struggling at Europeans. I was pretty confident that this boat would end up ahead of the USA (last year's bronze medallists) and likely in a battle with Lithuania for silver but Norway’s emergence has thrown a wrench in that. I was happy initially happy Inger Seim Kavlie moved into the double as it has made Sanita’s qualification pathway in the single slightly easier but I didn’t expect this Norwegian boat to be that good. I’m a little bit surprised other countries haven’t realised how open this boatclass is. (Lithuania were nowhere with a quad a couple of years ago but have been flying in the double.) Our double is still a young boat and I think will get a lot better as the year goes on although there is the possibility we slightly overperformed at last years worlds. Similar to the men’s pair, focus on making the A final and then see what happens but making the final is a lot easier in this boatclass compared with others.


Outside chances-


Women’s four/ Womens single- You can’t entirely Sanita out and the four I mean currently looks like the 8th best boat in the world and could conceivably be as high 5/6th by the time the Olympics comes around. Has a chance of making an A final and has Olympic medalists in the boat so a medal can’t be ruled out but is very unlikely.

Finally I do think Konan Pazzaia has a legitimate shot at qualifying, European qualifying went as expected and he just needs to beat either of whoever Italy select or George Bourne. Zero medal hopes though.


Rugby Sevens




Men’s Sevens- The men’s team on the surface looks like a medal favourite, they won bronze at the 2022 worlds, They finished second in the regular season of the Sevens series with 4 podium finishes out of seven and never finishing lower than fifth, Terry Kennedy is possibly the best player in the world and we have a deep and versatile squad. The issue is I think if you were to ask most people who will win the rugby sevens medals in Paris they probably would say three of Fiji, New Zealand, Argentina and France and leave Ireland in a second tier with Australia, the USA and I guess South Africa if they qualify. I don’t know, Fiji will load their team in Paris and will likely reach a level they haven’t been even close to over the last couple of years, New Zealand are world champions and similarly will be tough to beat at their best and we have largely struggled with that matchup, Argentina had looked unbeatable at times this year but their dominance has been broken somewhat over the last couple of series and like South Africa won the first four series in 2022 and then just hit at wall and have been middle of the pack since. Antoine Dupont is class but I do think his impact is slightly overblown just in that France were really strong to begin with and some of his craftiness and ability to open up space isn’t as effective in sevens as it is in normal rugby, France have had the better of recent matchups but they have all been very close. It will help if we can win our group in Paris and hopefully avoid meeting any of the other top 4 teams in a quarter final. To be honest I quietly like our chances but ye know, let’s see how Madrid goes as I assume countries will use it as a warm up for Paris.




Women’s Sevens- To be honest I don’t think the women are contenders to medal but given who else I have categorised as a contender in this exercise and that they should make the quarter finals and could conceivably go further I guess they are. Like, we have made the semifinals once in our last ten series events. Then again, I think we are the fifth most likely to medal so yeah, I guess that makes us contenders. Injuries and a focus on the women’s six nations (which makes sense) have led to use being further down the rankings this season compared to the last couple of years. I do think at our best we are better than Fiji and Canada but we are just so clearly a tier below New Zealand, Australia and France. The USA are better than us but I could see us beating them. Fiji caused a shock in Tokyo beating Australia so like it is possible, I just don’t think it is likely and if a shock does happen I don’t think we will be the ones who create it.






Finn Lynch (ILCA7)- 2nd at 2022 worlds 3rd at this years Europeans, maybe not quite the profile of a prospective Olympic medallist in between but he has shown an ability to reach the podium. Second Olympics as well after Rio so experience is not a concern.


Outside chances-


Eve McMahon (ILCA6), Robert Dickson and Sean Waddilove (49er- assuming they get picked)- Eve McMahon has yet to really break through at senior level and look this Olympics may well be the precursor to bigger and better things for Eve but maybe all of a sudden things just clicks for her. Dickson and Waddilove have stagnated a bit over the last couple of years but its not out of the question they could push for the podium here although it would require consistency that they haven’t ever really had.






Daniel Wiffen- From a medal perspective, probably our most important athlete given that it is possible if not likely he either comes away with two medals or zero. Best chance is the 1500m although it may well take a world record. 800m is a bit tougher as it suits the like of Ahmed Hafnaoi :TUN more and brings the likes of Sam Short :AUS into contention.




Mona McSharry- Probably a tier below the big contenders (Lydia Jacoby, Qianting Tang , Lilly King, Ruta Meilutyte, Tatjana Schoenmaker) but was within a few strokes of the podium last year and her heat time would have been enough to get there. She is likely at her peak and she has consistently hit pbs when it counted the most so let's see I guess.






Jack Woolley- Maybe it is generous to consider Jack a contender given his record at global championships isn’t great. I’m not entirely sure how seeding works in taekwondo but its very possible that Jack ends up fighting Lucas Guzman the same athlete he lost to in Tokyo again in the first round.


  Outside chances Contenders Favourites
Athletics 0 2 2
Boxing 3 6 2
Canoe Slalom 1 0 0
Cycling  0 2 0
Equestrian 2 5 1
Golf  1 2 1
Gymnastics 0 0 1
Rowing 2 4 2
Rugby Sevens 0 1 1
Sailing 2 1 0
Swimming 0 1 2
Taekwondo 0 1 0
Total 11 25 12


Ultimately, I think boxing is a fairly safe bet for two medals with I think being able to comfortably project a third if 3 of Cassidy, Aidan Walsh, Grainne Walsh, Daina Moorehouse qualify at the second world qualifier. Of course we are well aware of how volatile boxing can be but we can still project 2/3 medals. Rowing we have won 3 world championship medals in olympic events at the last 3 world championships and should have won at least 3 in Tokyo. Individually right now I would only project two and I’m not all that confident in the mens double but at the same time I would be pretty surprised if none of the M2-, W2-, W2x or LW2x medal. (lets conservatively say 4 in the two core sports of rowing/ boxing although personally I think we will win 3 in each and think we have the upside to do even better than that.) (4)


I think Rhys is a safe medal pick although maybe not gold.(1)


Between Rhasidat Adeleke(400m + Mixed 4*400) and Daniel Wiffen (800m +1500m) both essentially represent two medal chances, I like both of their chances but let’s say it either goes right for one and wrong for the other or somewhere in between (say silver/bronze for Wiffen in 1500 but 4th in the 800 and Adeleke medals individually but it doesn’t work out for the relays.) (2)


Then looking at Ireland’s traditionally strong sports that we haven’t had comparable Olympic success, lets be conservative and say one of Golf, Equestrian and Rugby Sevens ends up winning one Olympic medal. (1)


Look things can and will go wrong but without even considering any surprise medals I have us at I think at quite a safe 8 medals and would probably predict 10 right now although saying that out loud makes me nervous. (Admittedly the LM2x might be the only one I would pick for gold.)


I started off this cycle thinking 8 is the target, 10+ is the goal and anything less than 6 is a disaster and that hasn’t changed for me. Just because we have failed miserably in past Olympics doesn’t mean we should be ok with falling short again at this one especially with the Olympics in Paris which after London is as close to home advantage as we can get. Additionally, we have underperformed in Rio and Tokyo and if we had say won 5 in Rio and 7 in Tokyo where with average luck we may well have, how much more optimistic would we be about our chances this time around?


Finally just on expectations, I have included this table of roughly comparable countries population and wealth wise and their summer (very relevant caveat for Norway) Olympic medal performances.  



  2008 2012 2016 2020
Denmark 7 9 15 11
Belgium 2 3 6 7
New Zealand 9 13 18 20
Czech Republic 7 11 10 11
Norway 9 4 4 8
Average 6.8 8 10.6 11.4
Ireland 3 6 2 4


I know this is a massive oversimplification of a very complex question but I do think we should be winning and targeting ten medals consistently. Even with our current level of funding and investment I think we should be consistently hitting the high single digits medal wise. Just look at recent medal tables and the countries we are finishing around. There is no good reason why we can't consistently be a top 30/35 country on the medal table and yet we have broken the top 40 once this century.

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Posted (edited)

Thanks for the summation of things, in particular it's good to get updates on where we stand on some of the lesser discussed sports that we are unlikely to challenge for medals in.


If I was to try to call it three months out I'd say we're looking at five to six medals at present. I will accept that I'm factoring in an element of "things always seem to go wrong for us at the Olympics" into that.


But right now I'd call us for one boxing medal (possibly two), one rowing medal (I'm definitely a bit spooked by recent form), one swimming medal and one athletics medal. As well as one other medal across everything else from golf to rugby to equestrian to gymnastics - I think those sports are too much "on the day" sports to predict more than one medal across them all. 


I'm going to be brave and go for two golds within that, although to be honest I'm not sure where exactly the second gold is coming from! More a case that if you throw enough darts at the board one of them will hopefully hit the bullseye.



In terms of your comparison to other countries I think we can be a bit selective in terms of who we compare ourselves to. For instance there isn't an Olympics that passes that I don't see us being compared unfavourably to New Zealand and Denmark multiple times. But, similar to Ogreman, I've done a little bit of not especially scientific analysis of where we're stand in recent games compared to developed countries of similar population to our own. So I've taken the average number of medals won by ourselves and the 20 developed countries nearest to us in terms of population (10 more populous, 10 less populous, ordered by population) across the last three games. I accept that, as a starting point, our own population is open to a degree of interpretation given the partial inclusion of Northern Ireland within our Olympic team, but let's just go with it for now...


Country/Avg medals per Olympics 2012-2020


Austria              2.67

Switzerland      8

Hong Kong       2.33

Serbia               7

Bulgaria            4

Denmark        11.67

Singapore        1

Finland             2

Norway            5.33

Slovakia           4


Ireland             4


New Zealand 17

Costa Rica      0

Oman              0

Kuwait             1.33

Croatia            8

Georgia           7

Uruguay          0

Bosnia             0

Puerto Rico     1.33

Armenia          3.33


I guess what this shows is is that, despite the significant misfire in Rio, we're pretty much right in the middle for a develop country of our population, or maybe slightly above. Of the 10 more populous countries four have averaged higher than us, four lower and two the same. Of the 10 less populous countries three have averaged higher than us and seven lower. The average number of medals across all of the countries listed is 4.2.


Possibly the most notable thing of all is that, much as we often compare ourselves unfavourably to Denmark and New Zealand, and correctly so, it is very much them that are the outliers and not us. Not that we shouldn't aspire to those numbers, but realistically given the added sporting competition we face compared to most countries due to Gaelic football, hurling and 15s rugby, it's probably unrealistic to ever expect to challenge them on the medals table on any kind of consistent basis.


One other statistical note I'd just add is that if we do win five medals this summer we'll have won 20 medals across the last five Olympics from 2008 to 2024. That would equal the total number we won in all 18 previous games combined from 1924 to 2004 inclusive. And that's even with the (very generous) inclusion of the four 1996 medals in the 1924 to 2004 total. So we're definitely making significant progress.

Edited by Cosmo Kramer
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FWIW if you add Winter Olympics, you’ll see most of those countries shoot way over us in medals…


I think we can only compare ourselves to European nations of a similar size. 

Anyway, we definitely have more medal chances than ever before, and all we can do is hope more of them convert/get lucky/have the performance of their lives this summer. 

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Posted (edited)

I think as things stand I am settling myself for winning 5-6 medals. It could be a couple more but it could be a couple fewer if things go pear-shaped.


I think anything above 6 would be considered a huge return, despite us having way more medal chances this time. I think we will win 1-2 golds amongst that. In a favourable Games, it could be as high as 3-4 but what is most likely is 1 or 2.

It seems like Adeleke and Wiffen could be the keys to determine if this is going to be an extraordinary Games for us. Right now I’d have both in medal contention but there really is a prospect where either or both could strike gold.


My prediction right now is 1 gold, 3 silvers and 2 bronze. 

Edited by OlympicIRL
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Medal chances IMO (from unlikely to locks)





Healy (I think the change of coach will unleash her this year)

mixed 4x400m

womens 4x400m



Wiffen (x2)






both teams



McIlroy, Lowry, Maguire 






Both teams

2 of the eventing team

all the showjumping team 



all of them 



LW double

womens pair 

womens double

mens double 

mens pair



49er crew




Some (the male boxers, sailors) need more luck than others but that’s over 25 events where it’s conceivable that Ireland could win a medal.

One in each of athletics, swimming and gymnastics would be an absolutely incredible return for us 


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Yes, I think Wiffen is key. If he could win two medals of any colour in his two events, and on the basis that the lightweight rowers are a near certain medal, that would put us on three already and in a good position to kick on from there. Notable actually that a lot of our medal prospects are competing in the first week this time, I'm so used to us being focused on boxing and athletics historically that I have become accustomed to watching on the basis that we won't win most of whatever we get until near the end of the games.

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That's huge. Obviously he's been off it this year, but I was still working on the basis that he would come good again in time for Paris. Wiffen with a huge shot at two medals now if he can stay fit from here to the games.

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Men’s pair not set yet maybe? The crews for World Cup II have been announced. The world bronze team from last year has been split and we’ve entered two pairs


Ross Corrigan is with John Kearney

Nathan Timoney is with Jack Dorney


2 squads for the double sculls too

Doyle & Lynch stay together

Sheehen & Colsh together in a double for the first time (I think)


The lightweight doubles are back too


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