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London 2012: Introducing... Fionnuala Britton

The cross-country star is running in three separate events at the Olympics.

Event: Athletics (3,000m steeplechase, 5,000m, 10,000m)

Who is she? The 27-year-old from Kilcoole has represented Ireland in the 2008 Beijing Olympics, the 2009 World Athletics Championships and twice at the European Athletics Championships.

She recently led the 10,000 at the European Championships in Helsinki in what was only her second ever race at the distance.

Road to London: Much of Britton’s focus has been on cross country running – she took gold at the 2011 European Cross Country Championships, and began 2012 with victories at the Great Edinburgh Cross Country and the Antrim Cross Country.

While she did express her disappointment that no World Cross Country would be held this year, but that discipline’s loss is Ireland’s Olympics gain.

Britton seems to have come on strong since being eliminated in the first round of the steeplechase at the 2011 World Championships and, despite the disappointment of dropping off the pace recently in Helsinki, she will have been cheered to keep pace with Dulce Felix et al up until the closing stages.

What she says about herself, and women in sport: “Women in sport are often overlooked and there’s not a lot of role models, a lot of the time. But in the track and field the men and women compete on the same days, and if there’s an athletics event on the television you see the men’s and the women’s, which is a great thing.

“I’d have found it a lot more frustrating to be involved in a sport that doesn’t have the women on the same standing as the men, I think that’s unfair. I think we’re lucky in our sport and that’s probably why a lot of the good role models in our sport have been women.”

Medal chances: Gold will be a step too far in one of the toughest races of her life, but the Wicklow woman showed enough in three quarters of the 10,000m in Finland to suggest that a bronze or even a silver could be within her grasp. It will be tough, though.

If you meet her at a bar, ask her… about choosing to educate herself at Dublin City University when she could have gone to the States – Fionnuala says DCU has made her into the runner she is today.

On the Twitter: You’ll find a host of interesting celebrities, stellar wits, and Russell Brand. But you won’t find Fionnuala.

If she were a YouTube video she would be?

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