Katie Taylor, from the seaside town of Bray just outside Dublin, started to box at the age of 11. Her Dad, Peter, a successful Irish amateur boxer, coached her from the outset at the local boxing club. She worked hard and showed lots of natural talent. Around that time, she declared to she wanted wanted to be the best boxer ever. Women’s boxing was not a recognized sport and she learned her trade alongside the male boxers. She excelled from the outset and was well able to compete with and beat the boys.
Katie Taylor started her international winning streak in 2006 at the age 0f 19 and before winning her Olympic Gold medal today has won multiple World and European Championships. She single handedly worked extremely hard to have Womens Boxing recognised as an Olympic sport for the first time in 2012 and how totally fitting that she then goes on to win Gold.
Katie Taylor was the flag bearer for the Irish team as she lead them into the arena during the opening ceremony of the London Olympics. Katie and the Irish team got the warmest and loudest reception of all the teams that evening. Since then, the support for Team Ireland in general and Katie Taylor in particular has continued to grow. The magic in the arena for all of Katie’s contests has been palpable and thrilling with not a seat to be had. There was green everywhere mixed with tricolours and the decibel level in the arena broke all records. The audience ranged from friends and family, to boxing greats, Princess Anne and Kate Midleton, Nick Clegg, the president of the IOC as well as thousands of Irish fans. They chanted Katie, Katie, sang The Fields of Athenry and Ole, Ole and contributed hugely to the truly joyous occasion.
The fight for Gold against Sofya Ochigava was close and hard and the somewhat protracted wait for the final result created some anxious moments before the relief and explosion of utter joy by Katie, her father Pete, and the entire stadium. Pure magic.
President Michael D Higgins tonight saluted Katie Taylor’s Olympic triumph, saying she had lifted the spirits of the nation. As Taylor’s heroic victory reverberated around the world, Mr Higgins sent his personal congratulations to the Bray boxer for “a deserved victory”.
Taoiseach Enda Kenny was also gushing in his praise for Taylor. “Katie Taylor is not only an Olympic champion, she is a force of nature whose pioneering spirit and boxing brilliance have seen her realise her personal dream of winning Olympic gold. In doing so she has set an exceptional standard and there is no doubt that she is a role model that many will follow. She has won the hearts and minds of the Irish people who admire her greatly and love her to bits.”
Well done Katie, you have done us proud!