Golden Boys

Olympic champions Bob Tisdall and Ron Delany.

By Irish America Staff
October / November 2001

There must be something in the water of Nenagh, County Tipperary. The town’s offspring seem to have unusually high traces of medal. Make that gold medal.

1956 Olympic 1,500 meter winner, Ronnie Delany, with the Tipperary Olympic Gold Memorial Committee has launched a project to honor three famous champions with Nenagh roots. Already fundraising has begun on the plan that will take £80,000 to complete. Designed by noted artist Jeanne Rynhart, a sculpture will feature life-size bronze statues of gold medallists Matt McGrath (16 lb. Hammer, 1912), Johnny Hayes (Marathon, 1908), both record-breakers, and Bob Tisdall (400m. Hurdles, 1932). Tisdall, the only living honoree (he resides in Australia), still lectures on physical fitness. And he practices what he preaches. At 86 he did his first parachute jump from 12,000 feet, at 90 he crewed the Lough Derg regata and at 93 – the oldest Olympian in the world – he jogged 500 yards with the 2000 Olympic Torch.

With a success and longevity rate like its natives have, one wonders why they’re not bottling Nenagh water! ♦ 

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