Cauldron honour sparks Katie’s desire to compete in 2016 Games
Katie Kirk has lit the Olympic flame in London and now the Holywood teenager is setting her sights on competing in the Games in Rio in 2016.
The 18-year-old created history in the early hours of Saturday morning when, along with six other young UK athletes she shared an iconic sporting moment, lighting the Olympic cauldron during the £27m opening ceremony to mark the start of the greatest show on earth.
Olympic Ambassador Dame Mary Peters nominated talented 400m runner Katie for the honour, passing the torch to the young athlete in a symbolic gesture as part of the “inspire a generation” motto which organisers say London 2012 is all about.
Earlier, Katie and her dad Mark, himself a former fine 800m runner who represented Great Britain, had front-row seats for Danny Boyle's opening ceremony.
Four years on in 2016, when Rio in Brazil hosts the Games, Kirk wants to be a competitor.
“When you are watching the athletes' parade and all of them marching past, you know that you want to be with them rather than on the spectator side of things,” Katie told the Belfast Telegraph.
“I would be honoured to make an Olympics. It's the highest that you can go and it is my aim to compete in the Games one day.
“Rio in 2016 is the one that I'm looking to. I always knew that London would be a big ask. It wasn't the right time for me but hopefully Rio will be my time and hopefully Olympic Games after that as well.”
Katie, at just 18, has time on her side. She clearly has talent too, having been part of Britain's 4x400m relay team which won gold in last year's European Athletic Junior Championships.