Wednesday, May 22, 2024

McIlroy and Lowry keen to bring Medals home for Ireland at Olympic Games

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Rory McIlroy and Shane Lowry are keen to bring home a Medal for Ireland at this summer’s Olympic Games, which will be a slightly ‘different’ experience to that of the Tokyo Games three years ago.

The last Olympics were meant to be held in 2020, but after the covid pandemic swept across the globe, the Games took a back seat for a year, eventually taking place in 2021, with covid protocols aplenty.

Participants were required to wear masks at all times when not competing, socially distance and take standard measures to limit the spread of the virus, while fans were also not able to attend sport’s grandest spectacle.

Thankfully, three years later, the virus has been kept under control and this year’s Games is set to welcome back crowds for events such as athletics, gymnastics and golf, which made just its fourth appearance in the Games in 2021 after being reinstated as an event five years earlier for the first time in over 100 years.

With Ireland not profilic winners of medals at the Olympics, only capturing 35 in their history, Lowry is hoping to give the Irish something to cheer when making his second successive start in the competion in the summer.

“Obviously growing up playing golf, you never dreamed of being an Olympic champion, so when golf came to the Olympics it was kind of a strange feeling to have,” said Lowry.

“But doing the last Olympics with Rory together in Japan, albeit it was a COVID Olympics so it was a little bit different, we both realised what it meant to go out and try and win an Olympic medal for your country.

“I think that’s something that excites me and excites both of us to go back to Paris this year and try and do that.

“For me personally, I know to go back to Ireland with an Olympic medal would be like a dream. Yeah, something that is high on my bucket list for this year.”

When golf made a return to the Olympic Games in 2016, McIlroy decided to give it a miss, asking himself at the time whether “this is important for me”, but after making a U-turn to make his first Olympic start in Tokyo, it’s fair to say he made the right choice after getting a sense of the “Olympic spirit”.

“I was in a seven-way playoff in Tokyo for a bronze medal, and I’ve never tried so hard to finish third in my life,” said McIlroy, who is playing alongside Lowry at this week’s Zurich Classic.

“Yeah, look, we didn’t grow up dreaming of winning an Olympic medal because that just wasn’t something that was on our radar. Major Championships have always been what has been the greatest achievement in the game of golf, but once you’re there and you get into that Olympic spirit, it really sort of — I don’t know, something happens inside of you, and you really get a sense for what it means to so many people.

“As Shane said, even to just be able to call yourself an Olympian, but then if you were able to win a medal, that would be incredibly special.”

The men’s golf competition will be contested from 1 to 4 August at the renowned Le Golf National. The qualification period for Paris 2024 ends in June.

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