"That was hilarious" - Thomas Barr on the time he took his grandmother to Coppers

Irish Olympian also reflects on the lessons from the Games

BY Raf Diallo 20:30 Tuesday 27 September 2016, 20:30 27 Sep 2016

Thomas Barr, Ashling Thompson and children from the Newpark School in Blackrock, Co. Dublin, pictured at the launch of Irish Life Health Schools’ Fitness Challenge, which aims to to support Ireland’s PE Teachers in kick-starting change. Now in its fifth year, over 60,000 participants from schools across the country have participated in the challenge, and Irish Life Health is hoping this year the number of participants will be greater than ever. For details on how to register, please visit ww

Thomas Barr's 2016 Olympics experience not only left him with great memories but also gives the 24-year-old plenty of encouragement for the future.

The Irish Olympian, who barely missed out on a medal in the 400 metre hurdles in Rio while setting national records along the way, joined Off The Ball to reflect on the past, present and future.

The Waterford athlete feels that the fact he went in to the Games with no pressure after an injury-affected build-up helped him massively.

"I'm just so glad that I went into it with the mind frame of just enjoying it," he said, adding that he was relaxed before each race.

Barr also forged friendships with the O'Donovan brothers and badminton player Scott Evans while in Rio as they spent much time together. 

"On and off the track, I made a serious amount of memories and friends out there. I tried to get every bit of fun and craic out of the whole experience as I could," he said.

Barr also chatted about heading to Dublin's Coppers nightclub with his grandmother and family after his recent Late Late Show TV interview.

"That was hilarious. We had said it to her beforehand. We'd said 'look, Coppers are going to give us VIP and do you want to come in for a while?' And she said 'no, I won't'. Eventually, we said 'look, it's just going to be us in our own little area and if you want to go home, back to the hotel, we can bring you back'.

"But she stayed in and anytime we asked her 'Do you want to go home?' [she replied] 'No, no, I'll stay'. She was up dancing with us. It was brilliant."

Looking at his early development, he admits that only regarded himself as an "okay" athlete with limited international potential in his younger years, before explaining how he began to make a turning point into the elite level hurdler he has become.

Touching on the issue of fighting doping in athletics, Barr also said he gets tested "four or five times a quarter, so once every three weeks or so". 

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