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Arguably, the Olympic Games is the most captivating competition in World sport. The 2020 games in Tokyo reached a global audience of over 3 billion people. And some of Ireland’s most memorable and iconic sporting achievements have unfolded on the Olympic stage. From John Treacy’s 1984 silver medal in Los Angeles to Katie Taylor’s 2012 gold in London. Ireland is proud of the team that the Olympic Federation of Ireland will send to this summer’s games in Paris, and those athletes inspire the nation. 

After the ‘Dare to Believe’ campaign by the Olympic Federation of Ireland was announced as the winner of the Best Sports Sponsorship at the 2024 Irish Sport Industry Awards, Roisin Jones, Programme Manager at the Olympic Federation of Ireland and Philip Greene, Sponsorship Manager at PTSB spoke to the Federation of Irish Sport.

“Our programme is all about bringing the Olympics to the classroom and to the community”, explained Jones.

“We do this by utilising our amazing Olympic ambassadors and bringing them out to schools and community clubs, and getting them to share their journey in sport. That journey may not have been that easy, so we’re showcasing their dedication and their resilience. And really we’re just trying to inspire the next generation of children to believe in themselves to be something bigger and brighter.”

It appears there is something about Irish Olympic athletes which is deeply inspiring. Kellie Harrington’s story reached far beyond her putting on boxing clubs and entering the ring, and Rhys McClenaghan’s journey did not start on the pommel horse. 

“Those are amongst a few of our ambassadors but they’re really good at relating to kids and sharing  what they were like when they were eight, or nine, or ten years of age. They were once sitting in those same chairs. And I suppose breaking down that barrier of the high performance athlete and allowing them to say ‘I was once in your shoes.’ 

“It’s not about just winning an Olympic medal, its about those Olympic values of friendship, striving for excellence and respect and getting kids to see that they try their best. We see the amazing Olympic moments, but they’re not built overnight” concluded Jones.

The support PTSB has placed behind the Dare to Believe campaign has made its success possible, and Greene spoke of how excited the team at PTSB are for the upcoming games.

“It’s incredibly exciting. I think for ourselves as title sponsors of the team, but for the entire country I think. This is likely to be the last European based games until 2040, and its a real opportunity to get behind our athletes in prime time slots on television and in a time zone that suits our supporters here and in Paris.”

Greene also reflected on why PTSB wanted to be involved with the magic of the Olympic Games.

“It was something that was actually very important for us in PTSB when deciding to become title sponsor of Team Ireland was the unifying power of the Olympic and Paralympic Games. You look at other sports which are wonderful, but maybe have a slight bit more tribalism about them, than the Olympic games which brings together such a pure expression of pride, which is fantastic for us to be able to celebrate as a country together.”