John Treacy needs little introduction to local or national audiences; his silver-medal winning performance in the marathon at the Los Angeles Olympics in 1984 is unforgettable for those lucky enough to have seen it, not least because there were some who believed that John’s career in top level athletics at that time was at an end. His capacity to surprise the sceptics was always comforting for his true fans. In those games, having run 5th in the opening round and 9th in the final of the 10,000m, he astonished athletics pundits with a silver medal in his first marathon a few days later.
To cross-country fans, John's back-to-back wins in the 1978 and 1979 World Cross-Country Championships are unlikely ever to be equalled by an Irish athlete. Who will forget the image of the frail and mud-spattered Treacy breaking the tape in Limerick on that gloomy but glorious day in March 1979?
John Treacy's success is no accident. Born into an athletics-loving family in Villierstown, County Waterford, both his brother Ray and twin sister Liz were accomplished athletes. Success was built on hard work and natural talent. That toughness and commitment belie the frail exterior that often deceived his opponents.
For John Treacy there is no life after athletics! He is still very much involved. As Chief Executive of the Irish Sports Council he promotes the interest of Irish sport, its sportsmen and sportswomen, inclusively. He has been generous with his time and advice on course development and sports initiatives in Waterford Institute of Technology. He remains an inspiration to young Irish athletes and is remembered especially throughout Waterford where his success is celebrated annually by the John Treacy mini-marathon at his alma mater, St. Anne's Post Primary School, Cappoquin, in which the whole school takes part.
Admired throughout Ireland for his success, but equally for the self-effacing manner with which he has embraced it, he is a worthy recipient of the Honorary Fellowship of Waterford Institute of Technology.