Madge proud of her Olympic grandchildren

PROUD Lurgan grandmother Madge Russell has been glued to her TV watching not one but two of her grandchildren compete in the London Olympic games.

Saturday, 11th August 2012, 8:00 am

The 81-year-old from Ardboe Drive has been a huge fan of both 19-year-old Sinead and 28-year-old Colin who are one of the few brothers and sisters competing in Olympics.

The pair are part of Team Canada as their father Cecil emigrated there many years ago.

Madge is particularly proud of Sinead as this is her first Olympics and the first time she has been abroad.

She proudly told the ‘MAIL’ that Sinead had come 8th which she said was a remarkable achievement.

“I think she has done brilliantly. I’m really proud of her,” she said.

Colin, 28, has already competed for the Canadian team and now his sister, Sinead is following in the family tradition.

Sinead was competing in the Women’s 100m Backstroke and Women’s 200m Backstroke while Colin was swimming in the Men’s 4x100m Freestyle Relay and the Men’s 4x200m Freestyle Relay.

The pair’s grandfather the late Harry Russell was a well known and hugely respected swimming coach in Lurgan.

Indeed Harry’s son Cecil did the town proud when he swam in the Commonwealth Games. Cecil emigrated to Canada and he was responsible for teaching his own children Sinead and Colin to swim.

Madge told the Mail that her husband had taught half of Lurgan to swim and was an instructor at the YCU for 23 years.

He also had taught Cecil, her son to swim and in 1970 Cecil took part in the Commonwealth Games in Edinburgh.

“That was when Colin and his wife Erin had their first child and they called her Heather,” said Madge.

Indeed Heather was featured in the ‘MAIL’ as Lurgan’s youngest swimmer at 11 months old.

Madge’s grandson Colin has already competed in the Beijing Olympics and now his little sister Sinead is following suit by competing in the London Olympics.

“All eight of our children were great swimmers,” continued Madge. “My husband taught them all.”

Two of her daughters, Ruby and Margaret won Irish competitions and her son David also swam at a high level and Graham, George and Willie made a splash at local galas.