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Paris 2024: Ireland’s Philip Doyle aims to banish painful Tokyo memories in second Olympics


Philip Doyle and Daire Lynch have formed a formidable partnership

Philip Doyle and Daire Lynch have developed a formidable partnership since linking up after the Banbridge man’s Tokyo Games disappointment [Getty Images]

They say those who don’t learn from history are doomed to repeat it.

Philip Doyle is determined his experience at the Tokyo Olympics will not be replicated in Paris this summer.

“You can’t show up in a pool of sharks as a fish, you know, you have to be a shark,” explained the Banbridge rower.

There are similarities between his journey towards the last Games and this time around.

Doyle put himself forward as a medal hope for Ireland in the men’s double sculls after winning a World Championship silver medal in 2019 alongside partner Ronan Byrne.

It was all systems go for the Olympics in Tokyo until the Covid pandemic shut the world down and forced a year’s delay to the Games.

During that time, Doyle returned to his role as a junior doctor to help out as best he could as the health service struggled to cope.

When he finally got back into the boat, his Olympics build-up was a disaster.

“I feel like I owe my family something, you know the amount of people who I speak to when I go home and they’re like, oh, we were up watching all your races,” he explained.

“And my first reaction is to apologise to them. You know, I’m sorry you stayed up to four o’clock in the morning to watch me not win.

“But they’re delighted that they were able to share the experience and that someone from their hometown was there and they’re genuinely interested.

“I think that’s probably the hardest thing I’ve had to come to terms with in the last two years. I was there, I made it to the Olympics and it was a great experience when you look at it the right way.”

Philip Doyle (right) and Daire Lynch winning World Championship bronze in Belgrade

Philip Doyle (right) and Daire Lynch winning World Championship bronze in Belgrade [©INPHO/Detlev Seyb]

Doyle added: “So the sports psychology of it has definitely been important over the last two years. People in the Olympic year sometimes will overdo it and overdoing it can be as disastrous as underdoing it.

“We’re just trying to stay consistent and not swing the pendulum either way and staying on that middle road, because that middle road has got us medals in the past.

“Before Tokyo, I had two or three injuries which just had started mounting up and we tried to manage them and we tried to manipulate things and we veered away from that middle road and it cost us.

“We weren’t a shark, we were the fish.”

Back on the podium

Two years after Tokyo, Doyle, with a new partner in Daire Lynch, was on the podium again in a pre-Olympic year as the duo won bronze at the World Championships in Belgrade and qualified the boat for Paris.

After a long winter’s training, the season gets underway this weekend with the first World Cup in Varese, Italy and will end in the French capital in July on the grandest stage the sport has to offer.

“It’s been a very good winter to be honest. Probably the most consistent winter I’ve had in a long time.

“The last time I had a consistent winter like this it led into a global pandemic and everything going kaput.

“But training’s been going well and we’re getting some good mileage in and physiology wise things are improving so hopefully we can start to put that down on the racetrack.

“Now we just need to manage illness and injury. We only do three major international competitions per year so you just need to make sure you hit each one of them bang on.”

After all the training, Doyle and Lynch will see first hand this weekend where they stand early in the season when racing commences in Italy.

They’ve already received a boost as Olympic favourites, the Sinkovic brothers from Croatia have decided to race in the men’s pair which opens up the double sculls field.

“We can really go and test ourselves,” said Doyle.

“We’re excited to get that little bit of a breather when we get to bring down the training load to then try and perform at our best.

“So it’d be good to finally let some of that emotion out and really let it loose on the course.”



Read More:Paris 2024: Ireland’s Philip Doyle aims to banish painful Tokyo memories in second Olympics