A DREAM came true for a delighted John Cronin last week when it was announced that he has been appointed as one of the adjudicators for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.
A long time resident on the Daingean Road in Tullamore, Cronin has been appointed to the Jury of Appeal by the IAAF and it will be his first Olympic Games to officiate at. Another Irish man, Pierce O'Callaghan has been appointed as one of the international race walking judges and it will be his fourth successive Olympic Games.
It will be the crowing glory of Cronin's long career in athletics officialdom, though there may well be further glory ahead of him. Currently deputy president of Athletics Ireland, he intends challenging for the presidendency when it comes up next in 2020 after the incumbent Georgina Drumm (a Louth native with Tullamore connections) ends her term in 2020.
A native of Donegal, Cronin came to Tullamore in 1983 to work in the then Burlington Industries, off the Clara Road. After spending a brief period working in the USA, he returned to Tullamore in 1984 and has lived in the town since then.
The winner of the national U-16 800 metre title in 1976, he soon became involved in Tullamore Harriers, becoming PRO in 1985, chairman for one year in 1988 and returning to the chair in 1997, serving for 21 consecutive years before stepping down in 2018 because of his national and international commitments.
Early in his administrative career, it became clear that Cronin's ambitions lay far beyond club boundaries. In 1998, he was elected to the Management Committee of BLE and served as Irish manager at an international meeting in Latvia in 1999.
The road to the Olympics truly began in 2005 when he became a European International Technical Official (ITO), serving until 2013 and he has operatred at world level since 2013
A member of the EA Technical Delegates Panel, he has served as Technical Delegate for the 2013 European under 23 championships and Chief ITO at the European Team Championships Super League 2010; European Junior Championships 2011 and European Under 23 Championships 2015. He was ITO at the European senoior outdoor championships in 2016 and 2018; and the World Indoor Championships in the same years.
In 2015, he made a major break through when he was elected to the Technical Committee of the International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF), becoming only the fourth Irish person to serve on an IAAF committee.
The Technical Committee oversees IAAF rules and regulations - they have responsibility for competition rules, stadiums and facilities, equipment including technology and implements, and official's education for the IAAF. They have the power to put forward proposals to the IAAF Council, from where they may be referred to Congress, if necessary.
Married to Tuam native Dympna O'Grady, Cronin has a fantastic knowledge of the rules of athletics and his role in Tokyo will be an important one as the Jury of Appeal will have to deal with appeals by athletes and international federations against decisions such as disqualifications etc.