What’s the secret of the success of Irish tandem team Katie-George Dunlevy and pilot Eve McCrystal? Synergy. In Rio, the duo will be a serious podium threat in Class B for the pursuit and kilo on the track as well as in the road race and time trial.
The expectations are high for the duo. Of the ten para-cyclists in the 48-member Team Ireland delegation, only UCI World Champion Colin Lynch and multiple world medallist Dunlevy are experienced Paralympians.
At the London 2012 Paralympic Games, Dunlevy and Sandra Fitzgerald took fifth in three of their four events. In 2013, Dunlevy changed cycling partners to start working with former triathlete McCrystal.
Though the road to success has been bumpy at times, the pair’s obvious harmony has remained very strong. On the track, Dunlevy and McCrystal earned the bronze medal in the pursuit and finished eighth in the time trial at the 2015 UCI Para-cycling Track World Championships in Apeldoorn, the Netherlands.
The following year, with Dunlevy newly recovered from an ankle injury, the tandem team finished just off the podium in the pursuit, won by New Zealand pairing Emma Foy and pilot Laura Thompson.
In terms of road events, the Irish duo recently added more medals to their collection, winning the time trial and road race at the 2016 UCI Para-cycling Road World Cup in Ostend, Belgium.
An athlete at heart, 34-year-old Dunlevy was involved in numerous sports in her youth, including athletics and swimming. She also participated in para-rowing, a discipline in which she represented Great Britain from 2004-2005. It was only in 2011 that she became a para-cyclist and set off on the road to success.