Rio Olympics

Dame Mary Peters and Paddy Barnes named 'most inspiring Olympians'

Two time Olympic Bronze medallist Paddy Barnes. Picture by Paul Sharp/Sharpix

Dame Mary Peters and boxer Paddy Barnes are Northern Ireland's most inspiring Olympians, a survey showed.

The 1972 Pentathlon gold medal winner and the north Belfast fighter who has won two Olympic bronzes were among the top athletes people could relate to, according to a study ahead of the opening ceremony in Brazil.

The survey of more than 700 Northern Ireland people also showed female Olympians Peters (68%); former Irish athlete Sonia O'Sullivan (12%) and boxer Katie Taylor (12%) were the most popular Olympians of all time.

More than half of those asked (53%) believed the only thing stopping them achieving their goals was themselves; almost 30% wished they had more self-belief to realise and fulfil their dreams and over 40% believe overcoming failure made them stronger and more determined to reach their goals.

The research also revealed that 41% of respondents are most motivated by getting fit, with 25% inspired by learning a new skill.

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Rio Olympics