Event: 20km walk
Who is she? An Irish race walker who has already competed at three previous Olympic Games (2000, 2004 and 2008). Her list of notable achievements includes winning the World Race Walking circuit in 2011, and gaining a silver medal at the World Championships in 2009.
Her vast experience at big events is likely to put her in good stead come Olympics time.
Road to London: Loughnane sealed her Olympics qualification by coming first in the senior 20km challenge in Slovakia, finishing with a time of 1 hour 32 minutes 40 seconds, which was over a minute ahead of her nearest challenger, Zuzana Schindlerova.
What she says about herself: “Of course, the Olympics are really, really important and, while I’m making every effort that I can, it’s important not to go too far the other side, and let yourself get really carried away, which I have done in the past.” (The Galway Independent, June 2012)
Medal chances? Not particularly great. Although her vast experience could be considered a virtue, at 36, she would be one of the oldest medal winners ever. Moreover, she has never won a medal at the Olympics – 7th in Beijing has been her best effort so far.
And while she has performed impressively in recent years, most notably winning the silver medal at the 2009 World Championships, Jimmy is not convinced she can achieve an equally incredible feat this time around.
If you meet her in a bar, ask her about… where she is actually from. Wikipedia claims her birthplace is Cork, while other sources claim she was born in Galway.
On the Twitter: Get following @OliveLoughnane. It’s largely Olympics-based banter, though she also occasionally also reveals her love of books, as the tweet below attests.
If she was a YouTube video, she’d be… ‘Chocolate Rain’ man (aka Tay Zonday). They’ve both been around for quite a while at this stage, but remain impressive nonetheless.
YouTube credit: TayZonday