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Meet Ireland's Olympic team: Rob Heffernan

The 38-year-old Corkman will become the first Irish athlete to compete in five consecutive Olympics’.

Rob Heffernan Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

Event: 50km walk.

Who is he? One of the most decorated athletes in Irish history. A bronze medal winner in the 2010 European Championships and 2012 Olympics, the Togher native’s finest hour came in Moscow in 2013 when he won gold at the World Championships.

Where’s he from? Cork, like… ya langer.

Olympic CV: Having already competed in the last four Olympics’, Heffernan had been focusing on the 20km walk but debuted at 50km at London 2012. A fourth-place finish was upgraded to a bronze medal earlier this year after the race winner Sergey Kirdyapkin was retrospectively suspended for doping.

Road to Rio: Heffernan secured yet another Olympic berth as far back as March 2015 when he finished fourth in the IAAF Race Walking Challenge in Slovakia. Now that he’s officially an Olympic medallist, Heffernan said recently that he feels he has “nothing to lose” in Rio.

When does he start? For Heffernan, it all comes down to Friday, 19 August.

Where can I follow him? Both Twitter (@RM_Heffernan) and Instagram (@Robert.Heffernan) will keep you up to speed.

What he says: “You’re remembered as the fella who finished fourth for a month. Then after that people’s lives move on. Ultimately, when you don’t win a medal you’re forgotten really.” (TodayFM, March 2016)

Medal chances: After a distinguished career, has Rob got one more push in the legs to go for his second Olympic medal? Despite some injury troubles last year, he still managed a very respectable fifth-place finish at the World Championships, which he said was as good as a medal in the circumstances. We certainly won’t be betting against him.

Four out of five on our scientifically-developed, patented Jerry Kiernan scale…

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And here’s something you probably didn’t know… After Rio 2016, only three athletes — Angolan runner Joao N’Tyamba, Spanish walker Jesús Ángel Garcia and Serbian high jumper Dragutin Topic – will have competed in more Olympics’ than Heffernan.

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