Today I was in Liam Ruisèal Teo and purchased a book by Colm Murphy, Irish Athletes & The Olympic Games, Stockholm 1912. It profiles 46 men who participated in the 1912 Games.
I was flicking through this afternoon and was reading about Timothy ‘Tim’ Leahy who is described as ‘the last of the brothers’. He was from Cregane, Co.Limerick and went to school at Charleville C.B.S. – where Éamon deValera was also a pupil. He had the highest jump in 1910.
I am unsure as to why he is included in the book as the book does not state that he participated in the 1912 Olympics which appears to be confirmed by the Athletics Ireland website.
This website confirmed that Tim’s brother Con has the most Olympic medals in Athletics. Between Con and another brother Pat, they won Olympic medals at the three jump competitions – long jump (Pat – bronze 1900); high jump (Pat – silver 1900; Con – gold 1906; Con – silver 1908); and, triple jump (Con – silver 1906) – the first family to do so.
All of this reminded me of this commemorative stone seat that I recently saw in Limerick. It commemorates two of Con Leahy’s three Olympic medals.
“Tim was the youngest member of the family of athletes that has no equal. The Leahy family included Con who won Olympic gold in the high jump in 1906 an added silvers in the triple jump, 1906, and high jump, 1908, and Pat who won Olympic gold in the high jump and bronze in the long jump in 1900. Both emigrated to America in 1909 …..”
Wikipedia has confirmed that they were called the Intercalated Games and that the medals presented are no longer included in the Olympic medal register – but they are counted in Limerick.
The book and photos prompted some more web searching which revealed that with Peter O’Connor from Waterford who won triple jump gold, Con assisted in launching an Irish flag up a flagpole in the stadium – an act which has been claimed as assisting the cause of Irish freedom – although elsewhere suggests it was a green flag with a harp and the words ‘Erin go Bragh’, a big green flag; Con refused to accept his gold medal while ‘God save The Queen’ was being played (possibly a deliberate typo by the Limerick Leader and Limerick Post as Edward VII was King at the time); the six brothers were all expert jumpers; he emigrated to America in 1909 and died in 1921, aged 45, Tim predeceased Con dying in London during the Flu Epidemic after the World War I.
I understand that the seat was erected in 2006, the anniversary of the 1906 Olympics, but I thought that the Olympic Medal in 1908 might have warranted a mention – anyone sitting on the seat and reading the inscription might never know of the third medal which is the only medal now listed on the Olympic register.