Former Irish track star and Olympic silver medallist, Sonia O’Sullivan, will take up a new assistant coach role to Pete Julian in Portland, where she will coach some of Nike’s top distance runners. The three-month agreement will see O’Sullivan through to the Tokyo Olympics. O’Sullivan will make the move from Melbourne to Oregon.
“It all evolved quite quickly, and once we started talking, it felt like an instinctual decision for me, something I felt I’d like to do,” said O’Sullivan. “I won’t know what it’s fully about until I’m out there but to be a part of a fully professional set-up, with a good budget behind them, to get the best possible out of the athletes is something I’m excited about.”
O’Sullivan brings a wealth of experience from her own career which includes 13 major championship medals, including gold in the 5,000m at the 1995 World Championships and silver in the 5,000m at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney. The track legend also previously held the 2000m world record, which she set at 5:25.36 in 1994 – this was only broken four years ago in 2017.
It's Saturday night, I'm almost a bottle of Rioja deep and naturally thinking about Sonia O'Sullivan and what an astonishing year she had in 1998 after the disappointment in 96.
? World Cross Country Championships (4km and 8km)
? European Championships (5,000m and 10,000m) pic.twitter.com/SXaUcjK08D
— Dylan Newe (@DylanNewe) April 17, 2021
The group which O’Sullivan will be training currently comprises of 10 athletes who range in distance from the 800m to the marathon. O’Sullivan says this is an exciting opportunity to do something different and be with a different group of athletes.
“I’m a bit nervous as well,” she said, “but when you haven’t had something like this in your life for a while it’s good to give it a go, and have some purpose again in big-time athletics.”