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The eleventh of our Irish Sporting Legends is Sonia O’Sullivan.
Sonia O’Sullivan (born 28 November 1969, in Cobh, County Cork) is an Irish former athlete. She began her running career in Ballymore Running Club which is located in the eastern side of Cobh Town. She was one of the world’s leading female 5000 m runners for most of the 1990s and early 2000s. Her crowning achievement was a gold medal in the 5000m at the 1995 World Athletics Championships. She won silver medals in the 5000m at the 2000 Olympic Games and in the 1500m at the 1993 World Championships. She also won three European Championship gold medals and two World Cross-Country Championship gold medals.
On 14 February 2007 O’Sullivan said she planned to hang up her spikes after the Great Ireland Run on 15 April, having said the previous year that she intended to run competitively until the 2012 Olympic Games in London. O’Sullivan later dismissed the rumours that she was retiring after the BUPA Great Ireland Run, adding that she would be retiring at the end of the 2007 season.
In 2012 O’Sullivan carried the Olympic flame when it arrived in Dublin on the 6th of June. She carried the flame onto St. Stephen’s Green. She lit an Olympic cauldron on the stage in St. Stephens Green. For the Olympics in 2012 Sonia was made Chef De Mission for Team Ireland.
She is known for her dramatic kick at the end of races, clocking 28-second final 200m splits in some of her races.