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Egan celebrates at his homecoming.
Egan celebrates at his homecoming.
Image: Donall Farmer/INPHO

'Drinking brought me into a real dark place - it caused havoc with relationships'

Olympic hero Kenny Egan opens up about winning his battle against personal demons.
Jul 22nd 2021, 12:56 PM 39,098 5

Updated Jul 22nd 2021, 3:00 PM

KENNETH EGAN, THE Olympic silver medallist from 2008, has spoken candidly about the alcohol issues he experienced in the aftermath of his success at the Beijing Games.

The Dubliner rose from anonymity to national fame on the back of his success in the ring, before periods of binge drinking caused chaos in his personal life as well as his career.

In an interview with Virgin Media’s Sport Stories: Kenny Egan which airs tonight at 8pm on Virgin Media Two, Egan described himself as ‘a horrible, horrible person’ in that 2008 to 2010 period. He has since found sobriety and turned his life around.

“I would start (drinking) on a Friday like a normal person would after a hard day’s work,” Egan said. “I’d sit with the lads, have a few drinks. That would probably go into a Saturday and then them lads would have to go off because they are responsible and had to do things, like go back to work on a Monday whereas I would just continue (drinking).

“After a session, you would be sitting in a corner of a pub somewhere, high-fiving some 70-year-old, telling them jokes.

“Like, that is not normal. As long as I had someone to drink with, it didn’t matter who I was drinking with.

“And that was the problem. It spiralled out of control. But after the binges I would go back training; I’d try and focus and do a bit of running, a bit of training and go back into the high performance.

“And once competition was over, I was back on it again.

“It took me 18 years to get to climb my personal Mount Everest, 18 years of sacrifice, training, all those things, to qualify for the Olympics.

“But it took me two years to hit rock bottom.

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“So those two years – 2008 to 2010 – I don’t remember much of them because there were some really heavy drinking sessions, some really strong binges and I let down and hurt an awful lot of people.

“I turned into a horrible, horrible person.

“The drinking brought me into that real dark place. It caused havoc with relationships that I am not proud of. My mother was worried sick. I have made amends to an awful lot of people.

“There were schools who were waiting for me to arrive to show off the medal, they had signs made, ‘well done Kenny’. But there was no sign of Kenneth. I was away drinking somewhere. I am not proud of that.

“And look, I am very, very lucky that I got sobriety at 30-years-of-age.”

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Garry Doyle

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