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Rowing Ireland Team Told to Avoid Media Until After the Olympic Games

4th June 2021
Gold Standard: Fintan McCarthy and Paul O'Donovan will be seeking top spot again in Tokyo
Gold Standard: Fintan McCarthy and Paul O'Donovan will be seeking top spot again in Tokyo

Rowing Ireland has imposed a ban on media interviews with the international team until after the Olympic Games.

After negotiations this week, the ban will be lifted for one Zoom open day for the media under the auspices of the Olympic Federation of Ireland. Olympic athletes are also required to be available in the mixed zone at the Games. 

A Rowing Ireland spokesperson confirmed that athletes have been told not to otherwise speak to the media.

It is understood that the high-performance director, Antonio Maurogiovanni, believes this will protect the rowers in terms of public expectations and in regard to their mental health.  

“The rowing team will be available for media interviews at a media day, that we are currently finalising details of with the Olympic Federation of Ireland. This will coincide with the official team announcements. Details on this will be confirmed shortly,” Rowing Ireland said in a statement.

The rowing team is one of Ireland’s best hopes for medals in Tokyo. Ireland has qualified six boats and all four Olympic-class boats which competed at the recent World Cup Regatta in Lucerne won medals. During and after the regatta, Rowing Ireland said it would not allow media interviews with the rowers.  

Neither the Olympic Federation nor Sport Ireland favours blanket bans on athletes speaking to the media. 

In a statement, Sport Ireland said: “Rowing Ireland is an independent organisation and takes its own decisions. There are legitimate performance concerns and extra pressures arising from COVID which led to Rowing Ireland’s decision. That said, some access to the media is preferred for multiple reasons including creating a positive profile for the sport.”

Published in Rowing
Liam Gorman

About The Author

Liam Gorman

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Liam Gorman is a writer and reporter. He is the co-author of Little Lady, One Man, Big Ocean, published in the United States and Canada as Crossing the Swell. He is the rowing correspondent of the Irish Times.  

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