End of the Year Interview: OlympicIRL

With 2017 rapidly approaching its end, we have sat down with OlympicIRL to discuss about TISC and life in general. This interview marks the first of its kind at the newly established TISC-News website. Without further ado, we shall start the interview.

Hey there Dan, glad you could join us for a cup of tea. Glad, but not surprised since you are one of the TISC-News admins [laughs].

Hi there! Always happy to lend a hand, especially when there is tea on offer.

We are reaching the end of 2017. Generally speaking, which is in your opinion the most important happening, evolution or trend in the World in 2017?

For me the most important trend of 2017 is the continuing destruction of the planet by the human population, the same issues which we have been facing for many years already and for the foreseeable future The human population continues to grow putting a strain on resources and on the environment. More and more plastic and chemicals clogging up our oceans and seas, endangering the ecosystem and having countless knock-on effects, all pretty much undesirable. Habitats continue to be destroyed and many species continue to decline to the verge of extinction. Humanity not waking up to our responsibilities and to the crises facing future populations. I don’t speak with morality on this issue as I myself am part of the problem. But for me, this is the most important trend in the world. Happy New Year everyone.

Now onto more Totallympics themed question. We realize it can be hard to choose, but what was your favorite sports moment of 2017? You can pick up to 3 moments if necessary.

Irish show jumping on the top of the podium (2017 European Championships)

Ireland’s team gold at the European Showjumping Championships was a real highlight for me this year. Especially after so many years of terrible luck, I really savoured that medal.

Elsewhere, Galway’s first All-Ireland hurling title since 1988 and the Irish rugby team’s record 38-3 victory over the Springboks in the autumn tests were other memorable moments in 2017.

What are your best and worst TV and/or radio shows?

I don’t watch a whole lot of TV these days but my two favourite shows at the moment are Line of Duty and the topical British panel show Have I Got News For You. Fawlty Towers is probably my favourite TV show of all-time, it’s simply a masterpiece of comedy. Oh and Star Trek: The Next Generation, I still love watching it.

In terms of my dislikes, I’m not a big fan of shows like Grey’s Anatomy or reality TV such as Britain/America’s Got Talent, X Factor, Big Brother, etc. I also don’t get the fascination with The Big Bang Theory.

Fireman Sam

My TV hell, well there are two shows in particular that my brain just can’t handle and I can thank my nephew on both counts for subjecting me to these horrors….. Fireman Sam and The Chipmunks. I just can’t deal with them, please let me never have to see or hear another minute of either ever again!

And now onto more TISC related questions. What was your favorite TISC moment of 2017?

Well it has to be….. you know what I’m gonna say, right? That glorious moment when the deciding jury from Brazil gave Ireland victory at TISC Open 2017. I have twice hosted a contest in which the final jury cast the deciding votes, but I had never before been involved in such a tight race for the win. Going into the final set of marks, trailing Colombia by 6 points and sitting in 3rd place behind the USA, things weren’t exactly looking in my favour. But as the points were revealed one by one and neither the USA, Colombia or Ireland were appearing, the tension just built and built. And that moment when Vini revealed “Ireland 11 points”, it was a moment of true elation. Then after a couple of seconds I suddenly thought, “oh crap, I don’t want to lose this on the very last point reveal”…. the tension was unbearable. Then vini revealed the 12 point score and the rest is honestly a bit of a blur. Magical, unforgettable. Thank you Brazil!!!

Back in 2013 you were one of the fathers (or rather THE father of TISC). Can you tell us how the whole TISC idea started?

The origin of TISC goes all the way back to the autumn of 2012, a full year before the first edition took place. In 2012 we opened a “Best Eurovision Song of All-Time” contest on the forum in order to re-visit the history of Eurovision. That particular contest carried on for several months and into 2013, with many rounds, finally culminating in a Grand Final early in 2013. The thread proved a huge success and it left a void when it was finished. There was a sadness when it was over. I wanted to somehow be able to re-capture that sort of community atmosphere which was really unique at that time and something I knew was special and could not be lost. So I started to ponder what the next step would be. I wanted to involve all nations so they had an active interest, something which was not possible with the Eurovision contest. Having a contest showcasing all our music and giving us the power to select our candidates seemed very appealing. So I thought, why not, let’s give this a try. And that is how the idea of TISC came about!

Back when TISC was just an idea, did you believe that before the 10th edition more than 50 countries from all of the continents would have taken part?

No absolutely not. I had no idea it would be the success story it is and now TISC has truly come to life and taken on a whole other dimension. It’s more than simply a music contest. I was actually worried that the initial contest would only involve a handful of die-hard participants and would fizzle out. But thankfully the community took the concept to their hearts and the rest is history as they say.

Do you have a favorite TISC contest?

The very first contest will always hold a special place in my heart. Everything was brand new and we were discovering for the first time all those little intricacies that make TISC so special. That contest made such a powerful impact on the forum…. we stumbled on a new dynamic that allowed users to come together and share in something fun and exciting. The music was also of excellent quality in that contest. And of course, TISC Open 2013 also gave us our very first TISC nail-biter, that one-by-one voting that TISC has become known for.

Annual or Open?

I love the Open contest because it gives us such a variety of music and I tend to find it very difficult to award my votes as there are just too many great songs!!

Ireland won 4 out of 9 contests. Have you ever expected an Irish victory before a Grand Final started?

Emerald Isle has been the dominant figure in the first 9 editions of TISC

I have never expected an Irish victory before a contest, absolutely not, and that’s the truth. I really find it hard to gauge how my songs will do and I guess this is no different for any other participant. TISC Open 2014 is probably the one I had the strongest feeling that I could have a good result (the year the Cranberries won). But never in my wildest dreams did I think it would have been so universally well received. And as for TISC Open 2017? I’m still asking myself did that actually happen?

Which of the Irish victories was the most emotional for you?

This one is easy. I can say without hesitation, The Stunning – TISC Open 2017. Without a shadow of a doubt the most emotional one for me. I love Brewing Up A Storm and I was so proud to see this song making the impact it did amongst the international juries. I really didn’t expect it. I had already made peace with the fact that I probably would not have a particularly notable contest but was proud of my choice to give the Stunning a bit of exposure. And of course you can imagine the emotion that was soaring through my veins at that very climactic finish. I may have jumped up and down and flew around the kitchen for a few random seconds on that November night.

Your favorite Irish winning entry?

The Stunning – Brewing Up A Storm

Your favorite Irish non-winning entry?

Little Green Cars – My Love Took Me Down To The River (To Silence Me). Also my favourite Irish entry of all 9 editions to date.

You’ve hosted TISC twice: 2013 Open and 2015 Open. 2013 Open established the TISC brand, while 2015 Open has raised the level of TISC in every aspect. What do you remember most from hosting those two contests?

The very first edition of the contest which I hosted, I remember feeling very nervous for many reasons. Firstly, I wanted to make it as special as possible because in that way, the contest would have a good chance of winning over our hearts. This was also important as I wanted to show users that being host was a rewarding task and not just all about hard work. But I was really nervous that I would not get all the templates prepared in time and mainly that the live show would be a complete disaster. With 34 voting juries, I remember thinking the morning of the live show, “what on earth have I got myself into, this can’t possibly work out”.

And the nerves of knowing too that we were going to have our first ever last vote climax and trying to arrange the point-by-point voting without making a mess of everything. It was really exciting but not good for my heart.

When TISC Open 2015 came around, it was the second time I hosted and I felt more confident that I could get through the live show as I prepared everything in advance and it wasn’t the same sense as taking a blind leap in the dark that the first one was. I remember spending much time planning how to welcome everyone to Ireland and to really try my best to make it as entertaining as possible. And of course there was that same sense of nervousness and bursting to reveal the results when I realised we were again heading for a final vote climax.

One thing that really struck me though from hosting is the great support I received from the community while hosting. It really is a wonderful feeling, especially when the live show is over and you are reading all those words of thanks and I would definitely recommend anyone to give it a try. So overall, I have really fond memories of hosting.

Do you have any TISC regrets?

I have one or two, like everyone I guess. My biggest regret in terms of selection is not entering Markus Feehily in TISC Annual 2016. I planned to enter him but made a change in the final week, though I am very proud of Enya and she had an amazing run in the contest too. But every time I heard Markus Feehily since I did have a moment of regret that I didn’t give him his chance at TISC.

I also really regret not giving justony an extra few minutes to come online and vote in the very first contest. Yes, I know this sounds a little unimportant, but this has stuck with me since for some reason. I felt terrible that he missed the chance to reveal his votes by just a matter of minutes and he made a big effort to get there on time. Sorry buddy.

Have you already started the selection process for the 10th edition jubilee to be held in Brazil? If so, can we get a hint or two?

Yes I have already begun the search for the next Irish entrant. I usually draw up a list of candidates and after the New Year I will begin whittling them down to a manageable number (currently I have a list of more than 40). I have no idea yet who the final selection will be, that is what the next few weeks and months will be used to decide.

Any wishes for 2018?

I wish to win the Euromillions, no more work, yay!!.

More seriously, I wish for continued health for me and my family and all my fellow Totallympians, health really is wealth! From a sporting perspective I wish some fresh young Irish talent comes out of the blue, someone to hope in for the future. And as always, I hope to end the year a better and stronger person than the year before.

Thank you for participating in the interview!

Thanks for the opportunity. It’s been a pleasure.


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