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Meet Ireland's Olympic team: Ellis O'Reilly

O’Reilly will be the first female gymnast to represent Ireland at an Olympic Games.

O'Reilly had to combine studying for her A-Levels while training for Rio.
O'Reilly had to combine studying for her A-Levels while training for Rio.
Image: PA Archive/Press Association Images

Event: Gymnastics

Who is she? O’Reilly made Irish sporting history earlier this year when she became the first Irish female gymnast to qualify for an Olympic Games.

Where’s she from? Born and raised in London, the 18-year-old qualifies to represent Ireland through her Armagh-born grandfather and has represented Ireland for the last four years.

O’Reilly still lives in London and trains out of the Europa Gymnastics club in her hometown.

Tweet by @Ellis O'Reilly Source: Ellis O'Reilly/Twitter

Olympic CV: The history-maker has no Olympic experience to draw on, but fellow Irish gymnast Kieran Behan, who has also qualified for Rio, will be on hand to tell the debutante what she can expect from his time in London 2012.

Road to Rio: O’Reilly admitted that she only found out she was eligible to represent Ireland “a few years ago,” when the42 caught up with her earlier this year.

But Great Britain’s loss was Ireland’s gain when the teenager qualified for Rio in a test event for the Olympics back in April.

O’Reilly, who has participated in the sport since the age of six, achieved an invite to the final qualifying event after an impressive display in the World Championships, where she finished 98th out of 192 gymnasts.

And needing a score of 49.134 to qualify for Rio, O’Reilly achieved a score of 50.032 AA following an excellent performancw to enter the Irish history books.

Ellis O'Reilly O'Reilly hopes to qualify as a PE teacher when she finishes University. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

When does she start? O’Reilly begins her Olympic adventure on Sunday 7 August, the opening weekend of the Games.

Where can I follow her? Follow Ellis on Twitter here @EllisOReilly1 or on Facebook.

What she says: Speaking to the42 after qualifyingO’Reilly said she doesn’t feel she is ready to challenge for a medal just yet.

I’m just going to go and enjoy it, I’m obviously not expecting to come anywhere.”

Medal chances? O’Reilly’s chances of a medal are remote, but to be in contention to qualify for the final would be a fine achievement for the youngster, so she scores one out of five on The42‘s scientifically-developed, patented Jerry Kiernan scale…

Jerry 1

And here’s something you probably didn’t know… O’Reilly comes from a boxing family, with younger brothers Frank and Reggie aspiring boxers, while older sister Jenna has won four British amateur titles, and even led Katie Taylor to the ring during London 2012.

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Read more of The42′s Team Ireland profiles here >

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About the author:

Shane Costello

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