Paul O’Donovan

Olympic qualified Irish lightweight double sculls rower and Nissan Generation Next Select 2015.

Rower Paul and elder brother Gary secured qualification for the Rio Olympic Games after they finished fifth in the B final of the men’s lightweight double sculls at the world rowing championships in France earlier this year. The brothers from Skibbereen only recently started competing together, but their hard work and dedication has taken them all the way to Rio. #FollowMe

Fantastic win at the World Rowing Cup!
April 18, 2016


Brothers Paul and Gary O’Donovan had plenty to celebrate this month when they claimed silver medals at the World Rowing Cup in Italy, benchmarking themselves against the best in the sport.

Myself and Gary are pretty happy right now after claiming silver medals at the World Rowing Cup in Lake Varese in Italy. All of the long hours training and time spent away from home paid off at the regatta, which was our first competitive event of the year.

Everything went fantastically well for us and we were familiar with the course having spent the previous two weeks training there. We also trained there in February last year and the World Rowing U.23 Championships were held on the same course in 2014, so we know it well. We won the heats on the opening day of the regatta in a time of 6:27.070, finishing ahead of Great Britain, Netherlands, Chile and Poland. It was great to get things off to a good start and we carried the momentum through to the semi-final, winning that in a time of 6:19:570.

The South African team won their semi-final with pretty much the same time. They clocked 6:19.420 so we knew it was going to be a real battle going into the final with them and with the Belgian, Dutch, Spanish and Danish crews also qualifying. The South African crew of James Thompson and John Smith were part of the Lightweight Men’s Fours who won gold medals at the London 2012 Olympics and who went on to set a world record time of 6:05.36 on their way to winning the 2014 World Championships. So we knew that we were up against serious competition.

There was a strong head wind building on the finals day and the racing was pushed forward to take advantage of the better conditions earlier in the morning. We didn’t get the best of starts in the final and were maybe fourth out of the blocks. We got ourselves into a good solid race pace and then put in a big push in the middle of the race which pushed us into the lead. The race started to take its toll over the second 1,000 metres but we maintained our pace. The South African’s came back and opened up a small lead and we were also under pressure from Belgium and The Netherlands who were gaining on us.

Coming to the line we put in a big sprint. It’s something we had worked on in training and we knew that the boat would respond well. It was a massive sprint over the last 200 metres. We nearly caught South Africa but they got us by .23 of a second on the line with a winning time of 6:41.13.

It was tough to come so close to winning but we are really happy with how everything went overall. We prepared well and had to overcome a bit of illness during March, so a silver medal was nice and it was great to stand on the podium.

The race provided myself and Gary with a great benchmark of where we are at. We are improving all the time. The training is working and everything is going in the right direction. We are getting closer to the top all the time and we know we can keep on improving.

The result though will not go unnoticed. We will definitely be guys to watch at the European Championship in Berlin in early May. People are starting to take notice now but it doesn’t change the fact that every race is about the fastest person from A to B. You still have to do it on the day. Roll on Berlin.

Paul O’Donovan – back in Ireland
April 11, 2016

This February Paul talks exams, boat trouble and having too much boot space in his Generation Next Nissan!

Paul O’Donovan – Second Home Seville
March 1, 2016

Skibbereen brothers Paul and Gary O’Donovan are well on track for the Rio Olympic Games with an eventful start to 2016 including new national records and an incident which almost left them swimming for shore.

The countdown to Rio is well underway and our preparations are going well. Myself and Gary went back out to Seville in Spain in early January for eleven days of intense training. We had our boat and oars stored in a boathouse out there since our last two week camp in November/December. It was great to be able to get out to Spain to train because the weather at home was a disaster with all the storms which makes it difficult to get out in the boat on the water. Read on…

Paul O’Donovan – Sevilla Training
January 21, 2016

Paul and his brother, Gary, take on some winter training in the warmer climate of Sevilla, Spain.