Paul O'Donovan

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Paul O' Donovan
Ruder-EM 2016 27.JPG
Paul O'Donovan (left) with brother Gary at the 2016 European Rowing Championships
Personal information
Born (1994-04-19) 19 April 1994 (age 25)
Lisheen, County Cork
Height1.77 m (5 ft 10 in)
Weight74 kg (163 lb)
Country Ireland
Event(s)Lightweight double sculls
Lightweight single sculls
Coached by
  • Teddy O'Donovan
  • Dominic Casey
Achievements and titles
Olympic finalsSilver Medal (Lightweight double sculls, Rio 2016)[1]

Paul O'Donovan (born 19 April 1994) is an Irish rower.[2] He became world champion in the men's lightweight single sculls at the 2016 World Rowing Championships.[3] Together with his brother Gary, he also won silver in the Men's lightweight double sculls at the 2016 Summer Olympics,[4][5] and gold in the same discipline at the 2018 World Rowing Championships.[6]

Early life[edit]

Paul O'Donovan was born on 19 April 1994 in Lisheen near Skibbereen, County Cork to Teddy and Trish O'Donovan.[7][8] Like his elder brother Gary, he attended Lisheen National School and St Fachtna's De La Salle secondary school in Skibbereen.[9][10] He is attending University College Dublin where he studies physiotherapy part-time.[11]

O'Donovan was introduced to rowing in 2001 aged around seven when his father took the two brothers to Skibbereen Rowing Club. His father, himself a rower, coached them in the sport and remained a coach to O'Donovan until 2013.[12]

Rowing career[edit]

In 2008, the O'Donovan brothers were selected for the Irish junior team at the Home International Regatta held in Cardiff, Wales, and won gold in the junior quad sculls.[13] Paul O'Donovan also competed in the single sculls; he became the junior single sculls champion of Ireland when he was 15, and was placed fourth in the 2011 World Junior Championships.[8] When he was 19, he won the bronze medal in the men's lightweight sculls at the World Rowing U23 Championships held in Linz, Austria.[7]


In April 2016. Paul and Gary O'Donovan won silver in the lightweight double sculls at the first World Rowing Cup events of the year in Varese, Italy.[14] In the following month in May 2016, the pair won the 2016 European Rowing Championships gold medal in Brandenburg, Germany.[15]

The O'Donovan brothers had narrowly qualified for the Rio Olympics by beating Greece at the 2015 World Championship. In August 2016 at the Rio Olympics, the O'Donovan brothers won silver behind France in the lightweight double sculls, the first rowing medal won by Ireland at the Olympics.[16]

Two weeks later, he won the lightweight single sculls final at the World Rowing Championships in Rotterdam, Netherlands.[17]


The brothers finished in the silver position in men's lightweight double sculls at the European Rowing Championships in May 2017. They also won silver at the second World Rowing Cup regatta of the season in Poland in June,[18] and bronze at the third in July.[19]

In September 2017, at the World Rowing Championships in Florida, Paul O'Donovan won gold at the lightweight men's single sculls.[20] His brother Gary was ill and they did not take part in the lightweight men's double sculls event.[21]


During 2018, the O'Donovan brothers won silver in the lightweight double sculls at the 2018 European Rowing Championships in August,[22] and became world champions in the same discipline at the 2018 World Rowing Championships in September.[6]


  1. ^ "Rio 2016". Rio Olympics. Archived from the original on 22 September 2016. Retrieved 30 December 2016.
  2. ^ Gorman, Liam (27 July 2014). "Paul O'Donovan misses out on bronze at World Under-23 Rowing Championships". Irish Times.
  3. ^ "'Put an extension on Skibbereen' - World champion Paul O'Donovan planning an epic homecoming". Irish Independent. 27 August 2016. Retrieved 30 December 2016.
  4. ^ "Rio 2016: Gary and Paul O'Donovan win Ireland's first ever Olympic rowing medal". BBC Sport. 12 August 2016. Retrieved 16 August 2016.
  5. ^ "O'Donovan brothers: These Irish rowers are giving the best interviews at the Olympics". Daily Telegraph. 12 August 2016. Retrieved 16 August 2016.
  6. ^ a b "It's gold for the O'Donovan brothers in Bulgaria". RTÉ Sport. 15 September 2018.
  7. ^ a b "The O'Donovan brothers have committed their lives to rowing and it could all pay off in 2016". June 22, 2016.
  8. ^ a b Gorman, Liam (12 August 2016). "From Lisheen to Olympic medalists – Gary and Paul O'Donovan winning hearts". Irish Times.
  9. ^ Shanahan, Catherine (12 August 2016). "Wind with West Cork's rowing O'Donovan brothers". Irish Examiner.
  10. ^ Keogh, Jackie; O'Mahony, Kieran (21 August 2016). "Lots of big achievers but they all 'did themselves proud'". Southern Star.
  11. ^ "Historic first ever Irish Olympic rowing medal for UCD student O'Donovan". University College Dublin. 12 August 2016.
  12. ^ Brennan, Colin (27 December 2016). "Irish Olympic rowers Paul and Gary O'Donovan reveal how they axed dad as coach just three years before winning medals in Rio". Irish Mirror.
  13. ^ "Paul & Gary O'Donovan". University College Dublin.
  14. ^ "Silver for Paul O'Donovan at Varese World Rowing Cup". UCD Boat Club. 18 April 2016.
  15. ^ Gorman, Liam (8 May 2016). "Gold for O'Donovan brothers at European Rowing Championships". Irish Times.
  16. ^ Slawson, Nicola (14 August 2016). "Ireland's O'Donovan brothers become web sensations after medal win". The Guardian.
  17. ^ "World Championships: Holly Nixon and Paul O'Donovan secure gold medals". BBC Sport. 27 August 2016.
  18. ^ "O'Donovan brothers take silver at World Cup regatta". RTE. 18 June 2017.
  19. ^ "O'Donovan brothers take bronze at World Cup event". RTE. 9 July 2017.
  20. ^ "'It'd be hard to do much more,' says gold medal winner Paul O'Donovan". RTE. 29 September 2017.
  21. ^ "Olympic silver medallist Gary O'Donovan ruled out of World Rowing Championships due to illness". 13 September 2017.
  22. ^ "European Championships: O'Donovan brothers take Lightweight Double Sculls silver medal". BBC Sport. 5 August 2018.

External links[edit]