©INPHO/Morgan Treacy

Three-time Olympian Eoin Rheinisch signals end to career

The 34-year-old will move onto the shore to become Ireland’s first homegrown high performance canoeing coach.

KILDARE OLYMPIAN EOIN Rheinisch has been described as ‘one of the most outstanding Irish athletes of his generation’ on the day he announced his retirement from competitive canoeing.

The 34-year-old has represented Ireland at three Olympic Games and achieved an agonising fourth place in the K1 Slalom at Beijing 2008 after recording the fastest time with just three competitors to go. At London 2012, a 50-second penalty forced him to 14th position.

“My own personal highlight,” says Rheinisch, “was winning a World Cup  in Spain during the selection process for the Athens Olympics.”

He added: “Over the years, my sporting idols have changed but my real deserved heroes are my parents, brothers, close friends and partner.

“This career choice and what it involves can often be a selfish pursuit and, despite this, they have always been there for me no matter how bad the outlook is. I don’t say it often enough… thank you.

“I have been so fortunate to have the gift of good health that has allowed me to have such a long sporting career. My parents, my own injuries and illnesses along the way have taught me to never take this gift for granted.

“Representing Ireland at three Olympic Games has been an honour and a privilege. Finishing fourth in Beijing was a standout moment. Coming through under extreme pressure is one of the most exhilarating feelings I know.”

Rheinisch will remain very much connected with the canoeing scene in Ireland as he will move into coaching the sport he has dedicated 18 years of his life towards, with elite emerging athletes already benefiting from his tutelage.

Karl Dunne, chief executive of Canoeing Ireland, said:

“There is real legacy in Eoin taking up the position as National Coach to the U23 and Junior Canoe Slalom Squads. For the first time in the organisations history we have a true home grown high performance coach . On behalf of all at Canoeing Ireland, I wish Eoin the very best of luck as he moves from the water to the riverbank”.

In a heartfelt statement, Rheinisch praised the role of the governing bodies in Irish sport for facilitation the achievements which demanded so much time, effort and commitment.

Eoin Rheinisch after finishing 4th Rheinisch speaks to the media after finishing fourth in 2008. ©INPHO / Morgan Treacy ©INPHO / Morgan Treacy / Morgan Treacy

“I considered allowing retirement to drift past unannounced. But I wanted to highlight what sport has done for me and thank all of the wonderful people that have helped me throughout my career.

“During the incredible 90 seconds of a slalom race, I am on my own to face down those coloured poles and heaving water. But the preparation to reach that stage has involved commitment and support from sporting bodies and countless individuals at every stage of my career. This has been an all-consuming pursuit involving full-time training and travel outside of Ireland for more than 200 days a year.

“That type of commitment would not have been possible without the support of the Irish Sports Council, Irish Institute of Sport, Olympic Council of Ireland, Canoeing Ireland and the various private sponsors that have believed in me.”

In response, Irish Sports Council CEO John Treacy praised the Leixlip man’s meticulous professionalism in his approach to sport.

“Eoin is one of the outstanding Irish athletes of his generation. He has had a great career, one we were proud to support. More than that, he is a true gentleman and has always been a pleasure to work with, a  professional in every aspect of his preparation and performance.”

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