Event: Women’s 60kg boxing (lightweight)
Who is she? Katie Taylor needs no introduction. After winning her fourth successive world boxing title in China in May, the 26-year-old from Bray is now at the level where people can justifiably describe her as one of Ireland’s all-time sporting greats.
As well as her world titles, Taylor has won five European Amateur Championships and four European Union Amateur Championships as well as international soccer caps at underage and senior level with Ireland.
Her performances on the world stage over the last six years were key in convincing officials to introduce women’s boxing for the first time at London 2012. Carrying the hopes and dreams of a nation — as well as the Irish flag in tonight’s opening ceremony — this is her first Olympic Games.
Road to London: Despite her world titles and number one status, the only tournament at which Taylor could qualify for the Olympics was this year’s world championships in Qinhuangdao, China. A walkover against her Romanian opponent in the quarter-finals assured her of an Olympic spot but Katie wasn’t done until she’d defended her gold medal with an 11-7 win against Russian southpaw Sofya Ochigava.
What she says about herself: “I don’t want people to define me by my medals, but by how I live my life” (Irish Independent, April 2012)
What they’re saying on the Internet: “She is a fantastic role model for young boys and girls alike and one of the best sports people this country has ever produced” (Joy Herron, TheScore.ie)
Medal chances? If you’ve been following the series, you know how this section normally works. Jimmy comes along and rates the medal chances on a scale of one to five.
But not for Katie — we all know exactly where Katie stands and how desperately everyone wants her to win the gold medal she deserves. Ochigava, Jonas and Underwood will all be gunning for her in London. Let’s just hope we get our happy ending.
If you meet her in a bar, ask her about… her international football career. Or her GAA career. Or if you want to be cliched, her boxing career. Honestly, you could probably talk to her all night.
On the Twitter: Katie doesn’t do Twitter. She’s too busy winning multiple world titles and being an all-round legend.
If she was a YouTube video, she’d be… The Dark Knight Rises. The most eagerly anticipated event of the summer.
YouTube Credit: nogoodflix