“London Calling”, the fly on the wall documentary series continues on Ireland’s RTE 1 this evening (Tuesday July 3rd) featuring Kieran Behan.
This 23-year-old Londoner is only the second ever Irish gymnast to qualify for the Olympics -the first being Barry McDonald in 1996 – but his battle for this distinction reads like a Hollywood script.
At the age of ten, a benign tumour was found in Behan’s leg and complications from the surgical operation to remove the tumour left him in a wheelchair.
15 months later he defied the odds and returned to his gymnastics training, only to fall off the high bar during a training session, suffering a brain injury and damaging his inner ear, which affected his balance and co-ordination skills.
Once again confined to a wheelchair, doctors told him they did not expect him to be able to walk again, never mind competing in the Olympics.
“He’s been where nobody would want to be as a child,” his mother Bernie tells viewers. It truly is an amazing story and Behan is just delighted to be making a remarkable dream come true.
“It’s so surreal,” he admits. “It is a brilliant feeling. I’m literally pinching myself all the time just to see if it is all real.
“The support that you get from Ireland, whether you’re a gymnast, whether you’re a football player, whatever sort of athlete that you are, it’s brilliant the support that Ireland can give you.”
Make sure to tune into RTE 1 at 10.35pm this evening to follow Kieran’s qualification to the London 2012 Olympic Games… also featuring footage from Full Twist.