Ireland’s Shane Ryan of 100 Backstroke at the Tokyo Olympics
Ireland Shane Ryan, a semi-finalist in the 100th backstroke at the Rio Olympics, is withdrawing from the Tokyo event because of “persistent shoulder pain … specific to swimming that one stroke”. Swim Ireland announced this in a press release on Friday. The press release stated that Ryan will later compete in the Olympics as part of Ireland’s 800 freestyle relay and likely in the 100 butterfly, but the pain currently made backstroke swimming impossible.
Ryan said that he “has had pain in both shoulders while swimming for a while” and that “even though we tried everything we could before the Games, we couldn’t do anything – and that is how we came to this difficult decision.” ”Ryan was thrilled to be part of a historic moment for Irish swimming as the country set up its first Olympic relay since the 1972 Munich Olympics.
Ryan grew up in Haverton, Pennsylvania, but is an Irish citizen and has been eligible to represent Ireland in international competition since his father immigrated to the United States from Ireland. Ryan competed with the Penn State Nittany Lions for four years and has achieved some international success as a representative of Ireland, including bronze medals in the 50s at the World Short Course and European Championships and gold in the 50s at the 2017 World University Games.
Read Swim Ireland’s full press release below.
Ireland’s two-time Olympic champion Shane Ryan was forced to retire from the Tokyo 2020 100m backstroke event.
Ryan, a semi-finalist at this Rio 2016 event, made this decision in collaboration with Tokyo swim and medical staff because of persistent shoulder pain specific to swimming on that one stroke.
He remains fit and ready to later compete in the men’s 4x200m freestyle relay, with a review of his 100m butterfly participation after this relay.
Ryan has been struggling with pains in both of his shoulders for several weeks which excluded him from competing at the Swim Ireland Performance Meet in late June and this was done in collaboration with the team of experts at the Sports Ireland Institute.
Unfortunately for Ryan the pain has not subsided and it has been decided that he will not take part in any further backstrokes until further research has been carried out and the problem has been resolved. Ryan will look forward to his role as part of the historic men’s 4x200m Freestyle Rela on Tuesday, July 27th.
Ryan said, “I am extremely disappointed and frustrated not to swim back 100m at these Olympics, especially since this is my main Olympic event.
“Unfortunately, in high-performance sport, this is sometimes a difficult decision that many athletes have to grapple with at different stages of their sporting career. For me it is unfortunately a decision that we had to make at the biggest event.
“I’ve been struggling with pain in both shoulders with the backstroke for a while and I’m so grateful that I have a great support team that has helped me through the entire process. Even though we tried everything before the games, we couldn’t do anything – and that’s how we came to this difficult decision.
“However, I am delighted that in five days I will be going to a historic moment in Irish swimming to compete. For the first time in 49 years Ireland has a relay at the Olympics.
“I know that the decision to take part in this event as planned is not only the right one for me, but also for my teammates Jack McMillan, Find McGeever and Brendan Hyland. Although this has been the most challenging time of my athletic career so far, I’ve never been more motivated to perform here and make Ireland proud of myself and this relay while we’re in Tokyo. “
National Director of Services Jon Rudd said: “Shane made a very brave decision here that we all respect and support.
“He will inevitably be disappointed that he cannot swim the event that has been the main focus of his attention since 2016, but he will allow himself a while to still be able to swim in the season, something he said when he was named absolutely grabbed with both hands by the team.
“Driving in pain is neither wise nor right, and Shane has worked with numerous experts in her field over the past few months to explore a range of interventions to manage the situation. Unfortunately, these efforts have not brought him the result that he or we had hoped for in the time available.
“The support from the Sport Ireland Institute and its team of experts during this time has been immense and welcome – and Shane will of course live another day of battle as he became Ireland’s first World Championship medalist in 2018.”
The heats for the Men’s 4x200m Freestyle Relay will take place on July 27 at 12:17 p.m. Irish time. Find out more about Ireland’s 2020 Tokyo Water Sports Schedule.