Johnny started fencing in Northern Ireland when he was 14 . “I loved the challenge of having to use both your mental and physical skills to beat your opponent and the fact that you could do all within your powers to win within the rules of the sport but afterwards you were expected to show respect to your opponent. This is the pure nature of how sport should be”

His dream to be an Olympian was sparked by watching Dame Mary Peters win her gold medal in the Munich Olympics “ I was lying in a hospital bed after an accident when I saw Mary win her medal. I had no idea when or in what sport but I decided then that I wanted to go and try to win the Olympics. That moment changed my life forever and I spent the next 30 years following that dream and still live my life by the Olympic and Paralympic values of Respect , Excellence, Friendship , Determination, Inspiration, Courage and Equality”

Johnny represented Great Britain over 100 times at Senior International level over an 18 year period and also represented Northern Ireland over a 20 year period.

After retiring from Fencing he competed internationally at Age Group level in Triathlon, Duathlon and Cross Country.

Giving Back

Johnny has been delivering sessions for young people over the last eight years in both Northern Ireland and the UK.

He is a Level 5 fencing coach and helps to run the Fence Like An Olympian club in his hometown of Belfast where he coaches young fencers three nights a week.

He is also the Olympic Team Manager for the Senior British Fencing Team in preparation for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

“Seeing other people fulfil their potential is one of the most satisfying things in life. Helping others to be the best they can be is so rewarding and empowering. To be able to share the highs and lows of my journey with others is extremely satisfying and also very cathartic.

The life of an international athlete is one of extremes from the highs of winning, to the lows of bad results, injuries and non-selection. It truly is a metaphor for life. To have the opportunity to share my journey through the work I do with the Trust is very emotionally rewarding. ”

 

Sporting achievements

Team GB (Fencing Team) Olympic Games, Seoul 1988

Team GB (Fencing Team) Olympic Games, Barcelona 1992

GB Fencing Team World Championships Barcelona 1983, Lausanne 1987, Denver 1989 , Lyon 1990 , Budapest 1991.

Commonwealth Fencing Championships x 4 representing Northern Ireland – winner of 1 silver and 2 bronze medals

GB Team World University Games Team

5 x British Team Champion

GB ranked Number 1

Irish Age Group Triathlon Team, European Championships

Irish Age Group Duathlon Team, European Championships

Northern Ireland Age Group Cross Country Team