The new heroes of Irish sport are two unassuming West Cork brothers, as far away from multi-million dollar basketball stars as you can get, who are restoring the true meaning of the Olympics.
The Telegraph in London stated "These Irish brothers are giving the best interviews of the Olympics" and related how they have become heroes on social media
Gary and Paul O'Donovan, 23 and 22 respectively, won Ireland's first ever rowing medal when they took silver in the lightweight sculls on Saturday, sending the country into a frenzy. The two likely lads with their thick Cork accents have taken over the air waves and their plain talk has garnered them a huge fan club.
LADS ?https://t.co/BGbzZxeLEs— BenchWarmers ⚽️ (@BeWarmers) August 12, 2016
In the sculls final on Saturday they just missed the gold with the favored French team pipping them at the wire but it seems the whole country was enjoying their silver moment.
"I'm a bit tired and the legs are like jelly but we got to do a bit of celebrating and do the podium thing," Paul stated.
"We got to put on the podium pants so that was quite nice. Then I had to do this doping control thing so I was there for an hour or two trying to pee into a cup after about ten litres of water so I'm a bit full up."
"He was busy there and I was having a great time, running around signing photographs and autographs," said Gary, piping in.
"It was all well and good but we are tired now. We haven't had a bite to eat since after the weigh-in, we had a bread roll with some Nutella but I believe they are on the way with some pizza for us."
Talking about the reaction back in Skibbereen, the boys were chuffed they had made such an impact.
"Gary got a Snapchat earlier and people were roaring away mad or something," Paul said.
"I'd say it was mad excitement altogether. Skibbereen is after closing down for a national holiday."
"It is a pity we are missing it out here," Gary added with a laugh.
"Mick Conlan said he'd box the head off us if we didn't win gold!" Full story: http://bit.ly/2aRqSOjPosted by RTÉ Sport on Friday, August 12, 2016
After their semi final they were just as happy--and quotable.
“With 500m to go, I heard someone roaring at me from the grandstand, and that's a good bit, it's 250m I could hear him from - Most of them are shouting ‘Up Skibb!’” they said.
“To have them all here and everyone have such smiling faces and everyone cheering for us after the race, it's a huge honor, first to be representing our country, and then to have a load of people screaming us on, it's brilliant.”
Their sacrifices for Olympic glory were also remembered.
A former classmate of Gary’s in Skibbereen, told the Irish Examiner the two brothers used to get a bus to the rowing club four miles away every day.
“They’d get the bus over and back every day before and after school. They made a lot of sacrifices and now their commitment is paying off,” Brian said.
He described the brothers as “gas men altogether.”
“Gary was in my class and nothing fazed him, an upcoming test, nothing. They were two very laid-back characters,” Brian said.
“And they were always rowing, never playing football.“