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Kieran Behan: gymnastics

Updated: Tuesday, 17 Jul 2012 16:40

Kieran Behan: gymnastics
Kieran Behan: gymnastics

Kieran Behan (23) is only the second Irish gymnast in history to qualify for the Olympics.

Barry McDonald was the first Irish gymnast to compete at the Olympics in the 1996 Games in Atlanta, where he competed as a wildcard.

Behan secured his qualification for London 2012 when finishing 34th in the all-around competition at the London Test Event. He finished fourth in the floor event in London.

He lives in Surrey and has been self-funded up until this point, but upon qualification was awarded a €20,000 grant from OCI.

He is the 2011 World Cup floor champion.

Has has battled two serious setbacks. Firstly, a non-cancerous tumour was discovered in his leg when he was ten-years-old, with complications arising in the operation to remove it leaving him in a wheelchair.

Remarkably, Behan recovered, and 15 months later he was back in the gym, only for a freak training accident to leave him with brain damage.

Behan, then aged 12, slipped while working on the high bar causing the back of his head to land on the apparatus, which damaged his inner ear and caused him to black out with any sudden movement.

It meant he had to relearn how to do simple things such as sitting and how to move his head and left him unable to train for three years.

Behan returned to the gym and gained several youth accolades, but a double injury blow ruled him out until the end of 2010 after he ruptured the anterior cruciate ligaments in both of his knees in separate incidents.

However, World Cup series success last year and a solid performance at the World Championships in Tokyo earned him the chance to qualify at the Test Event at the North Greenwich arena.

Both his parents are Irish, qualifying him to compete for Ireland.

First in Olympic action on 28 July in the qualification event. Start time is 11am.

Medal Table

Country Total
USA 45 27 30 102
China 38 28 23 89
Great Britain 29 17 19 65
Russia 25 25 32 82
South Korea 13 8 7 28
Ireland 1 1 3 5
Full Table

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