Olympian and Love Island winner Greg O'Shea spoke to Jen Zamparelli on RTÉ 2FM about his career evolution. The Limerick man recently made the decision to retire from rugby at the young age of 26 in order to pursue opportunities in fitness and media.

"Rugby has been my passion since I was a little fella running around, and all I ever wanted to do was be a professional rugby player and represent my country. And I did that. I achieved the goal, I got as high as I possibly can in what I wanted to do," he told Jen.

Having reached a career peak while attending the 2020 Olympics, and feeling motivated to pursue a more financially viable career, O'Shea decided it was time to hang up his jersey and pick up the microphone.

"It's a mixture of finding something you're passionate about but can also develop a career in," he explained. "For me, I have a couple of things outside of rugby that I'm passionate about."

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Having won Love Island alongside Amber Gill in 2019, O'Shea explored a number of media opportunities; broadcasting on RTÉ 2FM, appearing on TV shows, and speaking on multiple podcasts. The appearances, as well as his Love Island title and athletic status, earned him an incredible one million followers on Instagram and 24.5k subscribers on YouTube.

During the pandemic, O'Shea's new found social media fame led him to sharing at-home fitness tips and tutorials, which he says he is interested in pursing further now that his rugby training has come to a close.

Despite having a strong fanbase and a bright future ahead of him, however, the athlete says he has suffered with incredible anxiety since deciding to retire.

"I never used to struggle with anxiety before, Jennifer, and in the last few months it's been through the roof. Knowing that I'm coming towards the end of my year and what I'm going to do in the future... I'm not stuck, it's not like I don't know where my next meal is coming from, but you want to get up in the morning and be excited about what you're going to do."

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According to the 26-year-old, the first step in making a big career change is having a positive attitude and consulting with those whose opinions you respect. Listing out the pros and cons of his career - longevity and finances being key factors - Greg's inner circle agreed that retiring from rugby was the right choice.

With the decision made firmly in his mind, the second step was to visualise his future.

"I picture where I would like to see myself, it's very cliché to say, but in five years or when I'm just after 30, where would I like to be in my life? So I kind of work back from that. If I want to be here doing that, what can I do today that will help me towards that goal?"

"It's just doing little baby steps, little one percenters to get you closer towards that goal," he adds. "I think you can really freak yourself out if you try and go 'I need to have this in my life right now'."

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Considering his interest in presenting, it's surprising that O'Shea didn't take advantage of his Love Island win to earn himself a career in the media as so many other contestants often do. However, he says that rugby was always going to come first.

"A hard pill to swallow for me was that I kind of stepped out of the celebrity limelight and moving to the UK after Love Island because I was just so passionate and had put so much time into rugby. I had a goal of going to the Olympics and nothing was going to get in the way so I missed out on so much opportunities because of that."

"Jen, I missed out on so much money, it's not even funny, like. But the thing is, I'm happier and I still have the people in my life that I care about and I did what I wanted to do so when I'm an old fella sitting down, I can be happy with my decisions."

"It's just now that I've decided to kind of change careers, I'm like 'oh my god, I could have had all this before', but I'm just delighted that I stuck to my guns and stuck to what I'm happy with, and achieved what I wanted to achieve. I know it will all be ok, I have lots of things coming so I'm positive about the future."

To hear Greg and Jen speak about Love Island, studying law and career regrets, listen back above.