|Katie in the Olympic Final|
At times, the Olympics seems largely a matter of tallying the amount of medals that one's country wins. Being from Ireland, that was never much fun.
This year however, the country became immersed in the fortunes of Katie Taylor, a boxer from my hometown bray, as she took down every opponent in her way to win gold in the first year of Women's Boxing in the Olympics.
The 4 time World Champion, 5 time European Champion - probably the most dominant Irish athlete ever - has enthralled the nation with not just her sheer class, her supremity and her humility but through the struggle she has endured to give her sport the recognition it deserves. Katie played a key role in helping women's boxing into the olympics by participating in show fights when needed, in order to show the olympic powers that be what they were missing out on.
And while her fellow gold medalists at the olympics have access to state of the art facilities and highly paid coaches, Katie fought for years without financial support, coached by her father and (as the NY Times has noted) trained in an old tin roofed gym without even a lavatory. Instead she had to use the facilities of the local pub, the Harbour Bar (which happens to be my local, and I can tell you, the bathrooms really are not the place's strong point).
An unbelievably proud moment to be Irish and share the great hometown of such a hero.