Descendants of Sťamus Sullivan

Eugene O'Sullivan

 

Eugene O’Sullivan, one of the six children of Denis O'Sullivan and Mary Sweeney, was born about 1927 in Kilquane, Mourneabbey, Co. Cork. He emigrated to Australia where he worked initially on the sugar cane farm of his uncle Eugene in Queensland. He later found employment as a dock worker.

Eugene was a superb athlete and, sponsored by the Waterside Workers’ Federation, went to Moscow to train with world champions Vladimir Kuts and Emil Zatopek. On his way to Russia Eugene won a 3,000 metre steeplechase in Canton (now Guangzhou) and a 5,000 metre event in Peking (now Beijing), beating  the Chinese champion, Chin Chow, on both occasions.
Selected to represent Australia at the 1956 Olympics in Melbourne, Eugene turned down the opportunity because it would have required him to take Australian citizenship, which meant he would have to pledge allegiance to the Queen, an obligation he was unwilling to fulfil. Attempts subsequently made by the Australian Olympic Council to have Eugene compete for Ireland proved unsuccessful and sadly Eugene never competed in the Olympics.  The photo on the left shows Eugene carrying the Olympic Torch at an athletics meeting in East Brisbane prior to the 1956 Games.

Eugene, who never married, eventually moved to Sydney where he ran a successful painting business. He was a nephew of Ellen Treacy, a probable second cousin of Sr. Columbanus Lynch, and a brother of Jerry O'Sullivan (see previous photos).

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