Paul O’Donovan

Wins and Olympic Silver and Then a World Championship Gold

Paul O’Donovan is an Irish rower who was born 19th April 1994. He rowed in the Men’s lightweight double sculls at the 2016 Summer Olympics and then went on to become world champion in the men’s lightweight single sculls, at the 2016 World Rowing Championships. He can now take his place in the history books for being the only rower to go from winning a medal in Rio, to winning one in Rotterdam.

Paul O’Donovan and his introduction to rowing

Paul was born in Lisheen near Skibbereen, County Cork on 19 April 1994. like his elder brother before him he attended Lisheen National School and then went on to attend St Fachtna’s De La Sakke secondary school in Skibbereen. He currently attends University College Dublin and is studying physiotherapy part-time.

He was first introduced to rowing in 2001 when him and his brother were taken to Skibbereen Rowing Club by their father. Hi father was a rower and took on the job of coaching them in the sport. He continued to coach Paul right up until 2013.

Paul O’Donovan’s rowing career

Paul’s rowing career started in 2008, when together with his brother they were selected for the Irish junior team. They rowed together at the Home International Regatta which was held in Cardiff. They won a gold in the junior quad sculls. When he was 15, Paul competed in the single sculls and became the junior single sculls champion of Ireland. He was also placed 4th in the 2011 World Junior Championships. He won a bronze medal when he was 19, in the lightweight sculls at the World Rowing U23 Championships. These were held in Linz, Austria.

Paul’s most recent success

April 2016 saw Paul and his brother winning a silver in the lightweight double sculls at the first World Rowing Cup event of the year in Italy. In May they also won the 2016 European Rowing Championships gold medal in Germany. By beating Greece at the 2015 World Championship, the brothers narrowly qualified for the Rio Olympics. In August at the Summer Olympics in Rio they won silver behind France in the lightweight double sculls. This was the first rowing medal to be won by Ireland at the Olympics. A couple of weeks later Paul was able to add another crown when he won the lightweight single sculls final at the World Rowing Championships in Rotterdam, Netherlands.

2017 Summary

2017 has been another good year for the brothers, finishing in the silver position in the men’s lightweight double sculls at the European Rowing Championships. This event took place in May and in June at the second World Rowing Cup regatta of the season they won a silver. With a bronze at the third event taking place in July.
The 2017 World Rowing Championships took place in Florida and Paul won another gold at the lightweight men’s single sculls. He did not take part in the lightweight double sculls event as his brother was ill.