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Dublin: 4°C Wednesday 25 November 2020

London 2012: Introducing... Kieran Behan

Our athlete-by-athlete guide continues with a man who has overcome more than most to make the short trip to London.


Event: Gymnastics.

Who is he? The 23-year-old is Ireland’s second ever Olympic competitor on the floor.

Road to London: Well, where do you start? At the age of 10, Behan’s parents feared he might never walk again after a tumour was discovered on his leg.

Nevertheless, Behan persevered and made it out of his wheelchair, only to suffer brain damage after falling from the high bar. He was unperturbed and, in January, he achieved a score of 14.8 in a London test event to secure 34th place and book his place at the games.

What he says about himself: “It was the nearest I ever came to quitting. Sheer despair really,” he said (in an interview with The Telegraph) about the cruciate ligament injury suffered in the build up to the 2010 European Championships, “ but I’d been through a lot worse and knew that, whatever happened, I could always come back.”

What they’re saying on the internet:The guy had to raise 12k himself to be able to take part in competitions. A complete joke when it comes to supporting sports development in this country. No wonder kids are on the streets looking for trouble ‘cos there is nothing else to do.”  -  @_infrascriptus_ (

Medal chances? Well, this is the elite level of competition and a art form which Ireland has absolutely no pedigree. Behan will arrive and he’ll compete to the uppermost limit of his ability. It’s something which was completely unimaginable for him 13 years ago.

That’s a three on the patented Jimmy scale.

If you meet him in a bar, ask him about… just about anything from his amazing journey, growing up in Surrey or Ireland’s poor showing in Poland. He’ll not be short of a word or two.

On the Twitter: He’s known as @KieranBehanIRL and you’ll forgive a finely tuned athlete a bit of excitement when a tasty (oh, so tasty) bagel is sat in front of him.

If he was a YouTube video, he’d be... this little polar bear is determined as f**k!

YouTube credit: thealaskazoo

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

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About the author:

Sean Farrell

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