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Dublin: 3 °C Thursday 23 November, 2017
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Meet Ireland's Olympic team: Shannon McCurley

Australian-born cyclist set to make history despite nightmare run of injuries.

McCurley: on the brink of her Olympic debut - four years ahead of schedule.
McCurley: on the brink of her Olympic debut - four years ahead of schedule.
Image: Shannon McCurley via Instagram

Event: Track cycling (keirin)

Who is she? McCurley, 24, is Ireland’s first-ever female track cyclist to qualify for the Olympics. As an 18-year-old, she won bronze at the European U23 Championships — but that was in the scratch race, which is not an Olympic event for women.

Where’s she from? Born and raised in Melbourne, Australia to Irish parents; her mother is from Dublin and her father is from Belfast.

Olympic CV: Rio will be her Olympic debut.

Road to Rio: McCurley was a promising runner before a knee injury forced her to start cycling as part of her rehab programme. Another injury, this time to her quad, saw her eventually start to compete in the keirin which uses a paced start instead of the more explosive gated starts.

She clinched qualification with a heroic effort at the world championships in London back in March when, three weeks after having her appendix out, she did just enough by finishing fourth in the repechage.

When does she start? The keirin qualifying round hits the track at 2pm Irish time on 12 August.

Where can I follow her? McCurley tweets @McCurleyS and also has an Instagram account here.

What she says: “It’s hard to stay in shape in Ireland. Everyone’s trying to feed me up – the chipper, batch loaf, mmmm…” (RTÉ, June 2016)

Medal chances? Tokyo 2020 was originally McCurley’s aim, but now that she’s qualified for Rio, her target is to get out of the qualifying round as one of the top 12 riders and into the semi-finals.

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And here’s something you probably didn’t know… Nicki Minaj and Eminem are two regular features on her pre-race playlist.

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About the author:

Niall Kelly

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