2 August 17:37 (BST)

O'DONOVAN brothers play the fame game for benefit of Irish rowing

GLASGOW - Their lightweight double sculls silver medal at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games catapulted Paul and Gary O'DONOVAN to instant fame - not only for winning Ireland's first Olympic rowing medal, but for their down-to-earth interviews.

But afterwards, the brothers got back in a boat and back to work.

"We get opportunities to do lots of different cool things that we probably wouldn't get to do if we hadn't been successful in rowing," older brother Gary said. "But we have to start being sensible and coming back to the reality that these guys around us aren't going to slow down, so we have to stay fast."

The O'DONOVANS have been canny at using the media spotlight to the benefit of their sport and Irish rowing is on an upswing. Sanita PUSPURE (IRL), who is not racing in Glasgow, is a world championship medal contender in the women's single sculls and the Irish team performed well at last week's under-23 world championships, claiming a gold and a silver.

The O'DONOVANS say their coach Dominic CASEY (IRL) should take much of the credit for their success. When they joined the national training centre from their home club in Skibbereen, CASEY came with them.

"Dominic's also helping the coaches to develop as well as the athletes, and you can see it," said Gary. "It's important that we try and develop Irish coaches as well as Irish athletes, because that'll increase the longevity of it.

"You see it in some of the really successful nations, like the British, New Zealand and Australian teams, they're actively developing their own coaches."

Added Paul: "They know when a better offer comes round that they're less likely to leave."

In Thursday's heats at Strathclyde Country Park, the O'DONOVANS showed their maturity, beating the French to win their heat.

"It was the first time beating them side by side, so that was nice," Paul said.

Eloquent off the water, in a race the brothers say little to each other.

"After a couple of thousand kilometres over the year, there's very little to be said in six minutes out there," Gary said.

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