WHEN A KNEE injury in August 2004 resulted in Nick Sweeney’s withdrawal from the Olympic Games in Athens, it brought the curtain down on a stellar career.
Sweeney was at four successive Olympic Games; Barcelona in 1992; Atlanta in 1996; Sydney in 2000; and, finally, in Athens, when a ruptured tendon in his left knee meant that he didn’t participate.
“It’s a mature decision following consultation with the OCI medical officer. It was my only option really,” he explained after pulling out.
Sweeney, an economics analyst at Wall Street who studied at Harvard, holds the Irish discus record, the 67.89 metres he threw in Helsingborg, Sweden, in 1998 unbroken since then.[adrotate group=”76″]
Sweeney’s father, Niall, was a teacher based in Dundrum, Dublin, who originally hailed from Meenacross in Dungloe.
Niall himself was a fine athlete, winning the Irish Schools triple jump in 1957 and 1958.
Nick Sweeney’s highlight was the bronze medal he won at the 1993 World Student Games, while he was on a four-year scholarship at Harvard.
Cuban Alexis Elizalde won gold with a 62.98m throw and Adewale Olukoju from Nigeria was the silver medal winner with 62.96m.[adrotate group=”81”]
Sweeney reached out to 62.52m to claim bronze at the University of Buffalo Stadium in New York.
Also in 1993, Sweeney competed at the World Championships in Stuttgart and, with a 61.66m throw, finished in sixth overall, while he was fourth at the 1994 European Championships in Helsinki, where he reached 63.76m.
By then, Sweeney had already been to the Olympics in 1992, when a throw of 57.68 wasn’t enough to qualify him from his group.
At Atlanta in 1996, he was a hair’s breadth from qualifying with a 62.04 throw, while his best in Sydney of 57.37m wasn’t enough for a place in the final.
Sweeney, dogged by injury after the 1993 Worlds, won ten Irish titles and competed for Dundrum having started athletics during his time at Wesley College in Dublin.[adrotate group=”37″] Tags: