Ireland’s most successful race walker Olive Loughnane has announced that she is to retire from athletics. The Loughrea woman competed at the highest level, and won a silver medal at the 2009 World Championships.
Ms Loughnane believes that the time is right for her to retire and hand the torch to a new generation: “My feeling was that I would quit while I was ahead and that I would know that the time was right from a personal and performance point of view. That time is now.”
The 37-year-old from the Loughrea Athletic club has accomplished multiple feats throughout her 12 year term on the walking circuit. She specialised in the 3km, 5km, 10km, and 20km disciplines, and excelled in the upper tiers of professional competition. She competed in four consecutive Olympic Games, six consecutive world championships, and two European championships. She also holds of the Irish record for the 10km walk with a time of 43:22 minutes, but it was in 2009 that she attained her most notable success, in an impressive time of 1:27.45 minutes, she earned a silver medal berth in the European championship which was held in Berlin.
On the Olympic track, her best result came in the 2008 Bejing games when she finished seventh. On speaking about her decision, Loughnane said, “To retire from athletics was always going to be a tough decision for me. I can be happy with everything I have achieved and I have no regrets. I want to thank Athletics Ireland, the Irish Sports Council, and the Olympic Council for all their help and support throughout my career.”