Love Island winner O'Shea gave up 'celebrity lifestyle' for Olympic dream

FILE PHOTO: Rio Olympics - Rugby sevens training - Deodoro Stadium

(Reuters) - Ireland's rugby sevens player Greg O'Shea says he has no regrets over giving up a celebrity lifestyle after winning the hit dating show "Love Island" to focus on pursuing his dream of qualifying for the Tokyo Olympics.

O'Shea, who won the fifth series of the show last year, is one of the most popular rugby players in the world with more than 1.2 million followers on Instagram but decided to move back to Limerick instead of working the celebrity circuit in London.

"It's nuts, I had the option of moving to the UK and following the celebrity lifestyle and being the it-person at a time," O'Shea, 25, told Olympic Channel https://www.olympicchannel.com/en/stories/features/detail/greg-oshea-love-island-rugby-sevens-olympics.

"But for me, that just didn't sit right because I've been working for so long for this goal in rugby and to get to the Olympics and play in the World Series. I'm like, will I throw it all away just for a two-week show that I'd been on?

"So I decided I'm going to move home, get back training with the boys. A lot of people gave me a lot of stick for throwing away the golden ticket, but I'm more than happy with my decision."

The flyhalf is no stranger to isolation, having been isolated from the world in a Spanish villa for the show, and he now finds himself in a similar situation with the coronavirus pandemic making training with the team a near impossible task.

"It's the exact same thing... Everyone's living their own 'Love Island' right now," O'Shea said. "We all got sent out GPS units, so it's like having a coach watching you even though you're by yourself.

"We have exact rest times that we're supposed to stick to between runs. They can tell if you're taking too long a rest and how fast you've covered a certain amount of metres, so you can't get away with anything.

"It's great because we're trying to get to the Olympics, so we need to be staying on top. And just because we're self-isolating doesn't mean the work stops."

Ireland are set to play in the final Olympic repechage tournament along with 11 other teams, with the winner sealing their spot in the postponed Tokyo Games which will be held in 2021.


(Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Christian Radnedge)