Olympian – A Definition
The decision was made three years ago, next week, to introduce Women’s boxing into the Olympics. For three years we have known Katie Taylor was going to London. We always knew she was our best bet of securing a gold medal. Imagine the weight of that expectation on you? Katie Taylor has stated herself in numerous interviews, she has been dreaming of this day for years.
The fight was tense. Close. Nail-biting.For me, the tears started after the final round as Katie walked back to her corner and her Dad, pointing to her chest and mouthing “Is it me?”- No palaver, no hype, you could see the hope on her face. When she was declared the winner, minutes later, I imagine half of the country were in tears. Half an hour later when the medal ceremony took place and Amhrán na bhFiann rang out around the stadium and Katie received her medal,the remaining half of the country must have had tears in their eyes too. I can’t remember the last time our national anthem has reduced me to tears, can you? It’s definitely been a while. Pride in our country, I had forgotten what it felt like.
Katie Taylor was already a legend before the Olympics. Current Irish, European and World Champion in her division. Now she has Olympic Gold too. She is awe-inspiring and an incredible role model. A shining example of if you work hard enough you can achieve your dream. Her graciousness, gratitude, honesty and modesty is astounding. She is remarkable.
It was so nice to see news feed’s and headlines full of cheer today. To hear car horns beeping in celebration. To hear “Ole Ole Ole” sung out in celebration instead of commiseration. I have done a complete 180 on my feelings on boxing. Watching it always made me feel a little uncomfortable. Katie Taylor showed me the true athleticism of the sport. Last month if you asked me my thoughts on my daughters boxing when they were older, I probably wouldn’t have been enthusiastic, now I would encourage them. I hope the sport gets more funding as a result. I am sure Katie Taylor has already inspired hundreds of young people to take up boxing.She will inspire thousands now, girls and boys.
Thank you Katie Taylor. You are amazing. I hope you relish every moment of your welcome home next week, we cannot wait to salute you.