How Ireland won relay gold: Ten photographs that tell the story of a golden night for Irish athletics

Chris O’Donnell, Rhasidat Adeleke, Thomas Barr and Sharlene Mawdsley shine in European final in magnificent fashion

The Irish 4x400 mixed relay team came into Friday night’s final in Rome’s Stadio Olimpico as medal contenders but the night and their performance surpassed all expectations. By race’s end they were clear winners, capturing gold in a national record time of 3:09.92, a performance that also set a new championship record on one of the great nights for Irish athletics.

This is how the team of Chris O’Donnell, Rhasidat Adeleke, Thomas Barr and Sharlene Mawdsley joined Sonia O’Sullivan (1998) as the only gold medallists for Ireland in the 90-year history of the European Championships.

Sligo athlete O’Donnell led things off and was fourth in 46.09 seconds when handing over to Tallaght’s finest, Adeleke.

The star turn of the quartet, Adeleke clocked a 49.53 second split, handing over to Barr in first place.


The Waterford man ran an outstanding leg of 44.90 to remain in second before handing over the baton to Mawdsley, who now had the Belgian runner ahead of her.

The Tipperary woman ran a scorching 49.40 – the second fastest split of any woman in the race (only bettered by the chasing Dutch superstar Femke Bol) – and hit the front coming down the last 100 metres, winning in a time of 3:09.92.

Cue delirium and unbridled joy.