'I would cut this medal in half for my sister because I know she deserves it as much as I do'

Ireland’s history-making siblings: Aidan Walsh says his bronze medal is shared with his sister, Michaela.

Aidan and Michaela Walsh celebrate the bronze medal.
Aidan and Michaela Walsh celebrate the bronze medal.
Image: James Crombie/INPHO

Updated Aug 3rd 2021, 5:54 PM

AIDAN WALSH SAYS he will share his bronze Olympic medal with his sister, Michaela, after a rollercoaster experience at Tokyo 2020.

Walsh enjoyed two massive welterweight wins at his debut Games to guarantee a medal, but was forced to withdraw from his semi-final bout with Pat McCormack of Great Britain due to injury.

The 24-year-old appeared to injure his ankle while celebrating his quarter-final victory in the ring, and confirmed to RTÉ Sport at today’s medal ceremony that it is fractured.

Walsh, appearing on crutches, climbed the podium alongside fellow bronze medallist, Andrey Zamkovoy, representing the Russian Olympic Committee, gold medallist Cuba’s Roniel Iglesias, and McCormack, who took silver.

Afterwards, the Belfast man celebrated with his older sister, Michaela. Among the Irish who lost their openers, Michaela was there for Aidan right through his journey, holding the tricolour in the stands and roaring him on; the pair having made history as they became the first brother and sister to box at the same Olympics.

And Michaela, of course, got a big mention in Aidan’s excellent interview with RTÉ after the medal presentation.

“It’s something that I’ve dreamed of since I was a kid,” he said, reflecting on a hectic few days from the high of his quarter-final win to the low of his semi-final withdrawal.

“I dreamt of that moment when I secured a medal. It’s just a historic moment for me and it’s amazing to be coming away with a bronze medal. I only came onto the high performance [team] two or three years ago, I’m a European medallist and I’m an Olympic medallist.

It’s sad that I’m not doing it alongside my sister, but I would cut this medal in half for my sister because I know she deserves it as much as I do. I’ve just been extremely lucky and extremely blessed to be standing here with an Olympic medal.

“It’s incredible. To qualify alongside my sister, and alongside the entire team, it’s an amazing team, amazing staff, we’re all here to win a medal. You feel obviously… but I just feel so lucky, so blessed and so grateful to even be standing here, seriously. To do it alongside my sister is another blessing that surpasses it all. It surpasses it all.”

Michaela wrote a lovely message on Twitter afterwards, accompanied by a picture collage of the siblings. “From a kid becoming an Irish champion to a man becoming an Olympic medalist, the love stays the same forever brother,” she tweeted.

Always taking the positives from what could be seen as a bittersweet situation, the bronze medal firmly in  Aidan’s grip certainly eases the injury pain.

“It’s fractured but it’s like anything, I’m standing here an Olympic bronze medallist, it’s amazing and I’m just so, so, so grateful to every single person that’s watching on TV and watching me stand here with an Olympic bronze medal. This isn’t me that done this, there’s so many people behind the scenes. I’m only a small, small part.

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“It’s great to be standing on that podium alongside three other top athletes who are at the top of their game too… I’m sure that in the near future that I’ll be standing on a higher podium than now.

“That’s my goal; to always keep improving and keep striving for more. I have a great team behind me and I hope to God in the future that I’m lucky enough and blessed enough to be able to try and do it again.”

Screenshot 2020-11-24 at 9.04.07 AM

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Emma Duffy

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