As the clock counts down to London, it is fair to say that no Olympic preview can be complete without mention of Derval O'Rourke and her particularly exciting 100m hurdle event. In a similar fashion to our beloved Sonia O'Sullivan, O’Rourke too has shared some precious moments with the Irish public and a nation that has loved to tune into the television and roar her over the line amid a frenzy of 13 seconds or so of sheer athletic intensity.
Also, in similar to Katie Taylor, O'Rourke's talent, record and likability have elevated her as one of our big medal prospects in London as indeed both athletes look to secure their very first Olympic medals at the upcoming games. Both are national record holders and have competed with the cream of the crop at European and World Championships, but with the Olympics come new and unpredictable challenges and obstacles that must be overcome on the way to athletic prestige and glory.
O’Rourke though, deserves to be taken seriously in her own right. At 31, she has had an absolutely outstanding career which can only truly be gratified by an Olympic medal on the third time of asking. Disappointment in Beijing and Athens has camouflaged her contribution to the athletics world somewhat, but London 2012 is one more opportunity to get it right. Derval chose not to compete in the World Championships in Helsinki this month in order to meet preparation standards for the Olympics and you get the feeling that everything has been set up nicely for an explosive overall Olympic performance.
People like to talk about her injury problems and also the fact that she was once asked to pay a tenner to train on a Dublin track. However, to finish on a serious note, the physical and mental strength of this athlete has always shone through before. Hopefully London will be the place where this struggle is finally awarded with an Olympic medal.
Read her blog online at dervalorourke.blogspot.com.