Trail blazer and Sydney 2000 Irish Olympian loses battle with cancer

Posted on: November 17th, 2014


Kings of the road: The Irish cycling team at the Sydney 2000 Olympics; Deirdre Murphy Bader far right with Robin Seymour, Jennifer Brennan and David McCann.



The funeral of the first Irish woman to ride the road race at an Olympic Games took place over the weekend.

Deirdre Bader (nee. Murphy), who rode for Ireland at the Sydney Olympics in 2000, passed away last Tuesday following a long battle with cancer.

She was buried in New York over the weekend where she had lived all her life.

A brilliant sprinter in her day, Murphy (55) was a world masters champion on the road but was far more than just a cyclist.

In her short life she qualified to work as a stockbroker while she also developed a leading interior design business.

She was executive director of a highly successful cycling programme based out of New York city’s Kessina Park velodrome for underprivileged kids.

The ‘Star Track’ program produced riders who competed in major events like the World Championships.

She founded the charity in connection with New York’s bid for the 2012 Olympic Games and grew the initiative over the past 12 years, with 300 children currently involved and a much longer waiting list.

It was Deirdre’s hope that by learning to ride on a velodrome, the children could develop fitness, self-esteem and teamwork.


In more recent times, Deirdre (front, left) with other coaches at the Star Track project in New York City (Photo: S Kwan)


A late-comer to the sport, her involvement in competitive cycling began when she was aged 32 years.

And she retired at the age of 41 years, having just competed for Ireland in the women’s road race in the Olympics.

She was born and raised in New York City, and while in high school obtained Irish citizenship at the urging of her father Daniel.

Years later while representing Ireland, Deirdre raced against international competition in Montevideo, Uruguay, in a qualifying event to determine what nations would have road cyclists in Sydney.

She finished 4th to book her place on the plane to Australia.

Deirdre was also world masters road race champion in 1997 in the 30 years and older age group, earning her the coveted rainbow jersey.

In her career, she won 81 races. She married Lawrence in 2002 and gave birth to their son Ethan in 2007.

Stickybottle would like to extend our sympathies to Deirdre’s family and many friends around the world.