The Irish legend and 1956 Olympics 1500m Champion, Ronnie Delany who is now 85 years was really pleased he’s still alive to know two street was named to honour him after his sensational Olympics triumph in 1956. Even though the revelation just came out to him this weekend after 65 years.
The revelation came when local steward Aodhan Harkin was searching through old Strabane Council archives, and discovered that two streets were named in Delany’s honour just a few months after his stunning Olympic achievement in Melbourne.
Harkin (local Strabane Sigersons GAA stalwart ) spung to action by posted pictures of the two streets, Delaney Crescent and Olympic Drive – named by the old Strabane Council in 1957 – on an Irish Athletics History Facebook page.
“Aodhan, who is a great community activist in Strabane, shared a photograph on Saturday evening and it just took off very, very quickly from there,” Irish athletics historian Pierce O’Callaghan told BBC Radio Foyle.
“I immediately got in touch with Aodhan and asked him to take a photograph of the street sign and said I would send it on to Ronnie.
“So on Sunday afternoon, Aodhan and another great athletics man, Stephen Maguire, who is from Strabane and is coaching the British Olympic team, went out and took a photograph of Delaney Crescent and Olympic Drive although there was an extra ‘e’ in the spelling of Ronnie’s surname.
“I sent it on to Ronnie and he said he was never aware of that and was very, very proud of it.
“I understand that moves are afoot to get the spelling corrected and Ronnie is very much looking forward to going up to Strabane at some point this summer or beyond.”
“I would imagine there were housing estates being built and somebody came up with the name,” added O’Callaghan.
“Probably nobody ever thought of letting Ronnie know and he was living in the States at the time.”
Changing the street name will not just be a simple matter of putting up a new street sign, but the Derry City & Strabane mayor has vowed that it will be done.
“They are going to have to go through the whole postal system and change the whole network but it’s going to be done and they want Ronnie to go up to the unveiling.”
It was gently pointed out to the local Derry City & Strabane Council that Delaney Crescent in the Northern Irish town was misspelt with a second ‘e’.
Council Mayor Michaela Boyle has now undertaken to rectify that.
Some 64 years on, Delany remains the last Irish track and field athlete to win an Olympic gold medal.