Olympics: Irish fans go mad for golden girl Katie Taylor

By James Lawton

Katie Taylor (left) has won gold for Ireland.Picture / AP
Katie Taylor (left) has won gold for Ireland.Picture / AP

She has a humility rarely associated with such achievementLocal Irish politicianThe roars that erupted from the town of Bray yesterday must have been audible from space when Katie Taylor's speed, grace and aggression won gold for Ireland.

Her supporters went buck mad, leaping and jumping in a frenzy of celebration as she became the Olympic women's lightweight champion and Ireland's most popular sporting hero.

The Irish, who love a party and love a victory, had been sorely in need of something to cheer as they wearily trudge their way through their deep recession. The 26-year-old Taylor gave it to them, lifting their hearts.

In both Bray and London arms were waved in ecstasy when it was confirmed, after a few heart-stopping moments, that she had won. The fans almost burst with pride and joy.

What a welcome awaits her when she returns home: already they are calling her the greatest Irish sportswoman ever, and there will be exuberant victory parades.

Outside the ring her personality is modest, courteous and slightly shy. After her victories she offers thanks to God for her gifts. And as anybody in Bray will tell you, she is endlessly helpful and encouraging to the town's youngsters.

She has been boxing since she was a kid, coached by her English father, Peter Taylor. When she was 11 she said in a TV interview: "I'm going to go all the way to the very top."

A local politician captured the national mood when he said: "She has a humility rarely associated with such achievement."

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