You may have spotted Katie during the Olympics opening ceremony when she acted as Ireland’s flag-bearer, carrying the tricolor into the arena ahead of the rest of the Irish Olympic team. Since then, she’s gone from strength to strength, not only adding an Olympic gold medal to the cache of titles she’s already won- including being the International Boxing Association’s World Female Boxer of the Year twice- she’s also won Ireland what is only it’s 28th ever medal since the country started competing in the Olympics.
To say the country is proud of the 26-year-old Wicklow woman would be to understate things entirely. When Katie won the lightweight boxing final yesterday afternoon it sounded as if the whole country had burst into spontaneous screaming and applause. When she was presented with the gold, and they played the national anthem as she swayed in silent tribute, even the most cynical of sports fans (i.e. me) were forced to hold back tears.
Born into a close-knit family, Katie started training as a boxer when she was twelve coached by her dad Peter. Her mother Brigid is a qualified boxing referee, and Katie credits them, along with her brothers, sister and an unshakeable faith in God for her success.
When interviewed after the final, she said that winning a gold medal at the Olympics was something she’d “dreamt of so many times.”
Then- in a show of class that those who know her say is completely in character- she congratulated her opponent, Russian silver medallist Sofya Ochigava, for putting up such a strong fight.
Respect to the lady.