Since I've been in Ireland for five days now on vacation, I have been bamboozled with media coverage regarding Ireland and the Olympics. Even though Ireland is not known for winning medals in the Olympics, and really was not expected win any this summer, Ireland finally has something to cherish and be proud of in this years Olympics, a gold medal.
Ireland, much known for Gaelic Football, is not well known for any other sport besides golf. Ireland has produced currently the number one ranked golfer in the world, Luke Donald, and also produces the only Gaelic Football League, which is actually in their semi-final championship round in the midst of the Olympics. Despite all this, the Irish have too much pride to not go down without a fight, and Katie Taylor did just that, and showed Ireland that they have something to be proud of, and something to hang their hats on, and that's Ireland's first gold medal of the Olympics.
Thousands of people were expected to leave their jobs early to watch the fight, and hundreds of more fled to London once she had made it past the semi-finals in hopes of witnessing history in the making. Katie defeated Russian boxer Sofya Ochigava in an intense match, with a close score of 10-8. Taylor trailed 4-3 after the second round, but then fired back to win the third round 4-1, making the score 7-5. After a tied and ruthless fourth round, millions were on the edges of their seat as the judges took exceptionally long to reveal the results. When Katie's arm was raised in the right corner, Katie was overcome with relief, as she captured Ireland's first gold medal.
It's the first time Women's Boxing has been offered at the Olympics, and Katie Taylor, who is 4 time World Champion and 5 time European Champion, wanted the chance to not only win a medal for herself, but more importantly, for her country.
"It's amazing to box for the gold medal," Taylor said.
She only expected to sleep a few hours the night before, she told reporters. Every pub, every newspaper, and every radio station all has had their eyes on Katie's road to glory, and it started as soon as the Olympics began. From the five days I've been here, Katie is a national icon, and the way people refer to her you would think that she is their daughter. As I walked down the street today, I saw signs outside pub after pub that all read, 'Katie Taylor live at 4:00, free pints.' When news broke out that Katie had won, pub's everywhere erupted with cheers and the streets immediately filled with chants of "KT, KT!"
Even though Taylor is certainly leads Ireland's Olympic effort, this is also Ireland's best performance in the Olympics in 60 years. Show jumper Cian O'Connor captured Ireland's first medal when he won bronze after another competitor dropped out. Boxer Paddy Barnes also has secured another medal by advancing to the semi-final round in Men's boxing. And tomorrow, John Joe Nevin and Michael Conlan will also fight for a place in the final of their respective weight divisions.
Ireland has a lot to be proud in these Olympics, especially with their 5 awarded medals. Katie Taylor's victory was more than just a gold medal, it was a win for the country, and she has made that clear. Taylor has lifted the spirits, and has brightened up the rainy city of Ireland, and I am blessed to be apart of it.
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