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London 2012: Introducing... Rob Heffernan
Jimmy’s second exam of the day is set for Ireland’s leading race-walker.

Event: 20 and 50 kilometre walk.

Who is he? Rob Heffernan is Ireland’s leading race-walker. The 34-year-old is based with Togher AC on the south side of Cork. A hugely experienced competitor, Heffernan will be competing in his fourth Olympics.

Rob’s the one with the sunglasses. ©INPHO/Morgan Treacy

Road to London: Heffernan has long since achieved the required standard over the gruelling distances. In September he sealed his 50km place with a second placed three hours 49 minutes and 30 seconds.

What he says about himself: “People ask me if it’ll be my last Olympics, but I haven’t any decision made either way. You don’t know what’s going to happen every year.” He wrote in his own blog.

“But if everything’s secure in a financial sense and I’m still competitive then there’s no reason for me not to go on. I set a PB over 10km in the world challenge final only a few months back, my times are still improving over short distances and I’m getting stronger over the longer distances.”

Medal Chances: Such distances are notoriously unpredictable. It’s often a question of who can keeping moving forward after hitting the wall. Heffernan’s experience and technique ought to keep him the mix at the latter stages.

Though he is yet to medal on the very biggest stage he has become accustomed to top five finishes having finished fourth across both distances at the European championships in 2010.

Jimmy says: Gold is his lifelong ambition, but bronze is well within reach. Three for me.’ There you have it.

On the Twitter: He shares his account with his good (and also Olympic-qualified) wife, Marian. We get the feeling that Mrs. Heffernan is the one in control of social media policy.

If you meet him at a bar, ask him… how on earth does he do it?

If he was a YouTube video he would be… You think walking is easy? It ain’t. Thanks, Maury.

YouTube credit: burger9701

Read more of TheScore’s “London 2012: Introducing” series here>

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