Belfast Telegraph

Monday 25 May 2015

Gold: Katie Taylor stays cool to give Irish fans the victory they craved

Katie Taylor
Katie Taylor
Katie Taylor with her gold medal
Katie Taylor celebrates winning her fight against Russia's Sofya Ochigava
Katie Taylor runs with an Irish flag with her gold medal after her fight with Russia's Sofya Ochigava in the ExCel Arena, London
Katie Taylor with her gold medal after her fight with Russia's Sofya Ochigava
Katie Taylor celebrates winning the gold medal
Thousands turn out to watch boxer Katie Taylor win Olympic gold on big screens in her home town of Bray, Co Wicklow
Katie Taylor celebrates winning her fight with Russia's Sofya Ochigava in London
Katie Taylor, left, boxes for gold on Thursday
Hundreds of people turn out to watch a big screen in Bray, Co. Wicklow, showing home town fighter Ireland's Katie Taylor compete against Tajikistan's Mavzuna Chorieva during their Women's Boxing Light (60kg) Semi Final bout, on the twelfth day of the London 2012 Olympics
Katie Taylor
Boxer Katie Taylor has secured her place in the London Olympics
Katie Taylor as a schoolgirl
South Africa's Oscar Pistorius in the Men's 400m Heats during day eight of the London Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium,, London
LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 04: Spectators soak up the atmopshere on Day 8 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at Olympic Stadium on August 4, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 04: Athletes swim the first leg of the Women's Triathlon during the Triathlon on Day 8 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at Hyde Park on August 4, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 04: Oscar Pistorius of South Africa competes in the Men's 400m Round 1 Heats on Day 8 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at Olympic Stadium on August 4, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)
Competitors start the Women's Triathlon around London
LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 04: Clarisse Cruz of Portugal competes in the Women's 3000m Steeplechase Round 1 Heats on Day 8 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at Olympic Stadium on August 4, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 01: Vasiliki Arvaniti of Greece hits over the net during the Women's Beach Volleyball Preliminary match between China and Greece on Day 5 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at Horse Guards Parade on August 1, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)
WINDSOR, ENGLAND - AUGUST 01: The Germany team throw their cox Martin Sauer into the water after winning gold in the Men's Eight Final on Day 5 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at Eton Dorney on August 1, 2012 in Windsor, England. (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)
WINDSOR, ENGLAND - AUGUST 01: A Canada team member jumps into the water as his team-mates celebrate winning silver in the Men's Eight Final on Day 5 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at Eton Dorney on August 1, 2012 in Windsor, England. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 01: Hassine Ghada of Tunisia competes in the Women's 69kg Weightlifting on Day 5 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at ExCeL on August 1, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 01: Natasha Perdue of Great Britain reacts while competing in the Women's 69kg Weightlifting on Day 5 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at ExCeL on August 1, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 02: Anastasia Zueva of Russia and Elizabeth Beisel of the United States embrace after competing in the Women's 200m Backstroke heat 3 on Day 6 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Aquatics Centre on August 2, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
British police officers arrest a supporter of Ukrainian FEMEN movement protesting in a "Islamic Marathon" against what they claim are bloody Islamist regimes that are supported by the International Olympic Committee outside City Hall in London, Thursday, Aug. 2, 2012. (AP Photo/Sang Tan)
Ning Ding of China plays a forehand during the Women's Singles Table Tennis quarter-final match against Ai Fukuhara of Japan on on Day 4 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at ExCeL on July 31, 2012
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 31: Hope Munro (L) of Australia drops her stick as she is challenged by Julia Mueller of Germany during the Women's Hockey Match between Germany and Australia on day 4 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at Riverbank Arena on July 31, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Daniel Berehulak/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 31: Michael Maze of Denmark completes during the Men's Singles Table Tennis quarter-final match against Dimitrij Ovtcharov of Germany on Day 4 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at ExCeL on July 31, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Feng Li/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 31: xxxx plays a forehand during the xxxx match against xxxx on on Day 4 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at ExCeL on July 31, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Feng Li/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 31: Chad le Clos of South Africa celebrates after winning the gold in the Men's 200m Butterfly final on Day 4 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Aquatics Centre on July 31, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 31: xxxx plays a forehand during the xxxx match against xxxx on on Day 4 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at ExCeL on July 31, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Feng Li/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 31: Anthony Davis #14 of United States dunks over Salah Mejri #15 of Tunisia during the Men's Basketball Preliminary Round match on Day 4 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at Basketball Arena on July 31, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 31: Kosuke Kitajima of Japan prepares to compete in the Men's 200m Breaststroke semi final 2 on Day 4 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Aquatics Centre on July 31, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Adam Pretty/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 31: Shiwen Ye of China competes in the Women's 200m Individual Medley final on Day 4 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Aquatics Centre on July 31, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Adam Pretty/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 31: (L-R) Gemma Lowe of Great Britain and Kathleen Hersey of the United States dive in the water at the start of the Women's 200m Butterfly semi final 2 on Day 4 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Aquatics Centre on July 31, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Adam Pretty/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 31: Russell Westbrook #7 of United States dunks the ball against Tunisia during the Men's Basketball Preliminary Round match on Day 4 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at Basketball Arena on July 31, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 31: Alaaeldin Abouelkassem of Egypt competes with Byungchul Choi of Korea in the Men's Foil Individual Semifinal against on Day 4 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at ExCeL on July 31, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Hannah Johnston/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 31: Anderson Mina Rojas of Equador (R) in action with Uktamjon Rahmonov of Uzbekistan during the Men's Light Welter (64kg) Boxing on Day 4 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at ExCeL on July 31, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Scott Heavey/Getty Images) ***BESTPIX***
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 31: Ai Fukuhara of Japan serves during the Women's Singles Table Tennis quarter-final match match against Ning Ding of China on on Day 4 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at ExCeL on July 31, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 31: Gabrielle Douglas of the United States of America competes on the balance beam in the Artistic Gymnastics Women's Team final on Day 4 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at North Greenwich Arena on July 31, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 31: Elizabeth Tweddle of Great Britain performs on the uneven bars in the Artistic Gymnastics Women's Team final on Day 4 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at North Greenwich Arena on July 31, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 31: Sheng Lei of China celebrates winning the Men's Foil Individual Gold Medal Bout against Alaaeldin Abouelkassem of Egypt on Day 4 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at ExCeL on July 31, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Hannah Johnston/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 31: Silver medallist Michael Phelps of the United States reacts after receiving his medal during the medal ceremony for the Men's 200m Butterfly final on Day 4 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Aquatics Centre on July 31, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 31: Qingfeng Lin of China competes during the Men's 69kg Weightlifting Final on Day 4 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at ExCeL on July 31, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 31: Aidan Zingel #1 and Igor Yudin #6 of Australia block Australia shot from Great Britain during Men's Volleyball on Day 4 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at Earls Court on July 31, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 31: Sheng Lei (L) of China competes in the Men's Foil Individual Gold Medal Bout against Alaaeldin Abouelkassem of Egypt on Day 4 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at ExCeL on July 31, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Lars Baron/Getty Images) ***BESTPIX***
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 31: Daniel Narcisse of France jumps ahead of Gonzalo Matias Carou of Argentina during the Men's Handball Preliminary match between Argentina and France on Day 4 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at The Copper Box on July 31, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Michael Phelps of the United States dives off of the block at the start of heat 5 of the Men's 200m Butterfly on Day 3 of the London 2012 Olympic Games
Nicholas McCrory from the United States during warm-ups on Day 3 of the London 2012 Olympic Games
German Sanchez Sanchez and Ivan Garcia Navarro (L) of Mexico look on from the pool deck during the Men's Synchronised 10m Platform Diving on Day 3 of the London 2012 Olympic Games
Jose Antonio Guerra and Jeinkler Aguirre of Cuba during the Men's Synchronised 10m Platform Diving on Day 3 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Aquatics Centre on July 30, 2012 in London, England.
Eric Hurd and Jeff Larimer of the United States compete during the Men's Canoe Double (C2) Slalom heats on Day 3 of the London 2012 Olympic Games
Clayton Fredericks of Australia falls from Bendigo in the Eventing Cross Country Equestrian event on Day 3 of the London 2012 Olympic Games
Great Britain's Tom Daley (left) and Peter Waterfield practice before the Men's Synchronised 10m Platform Final during day three of the 2012 Olympic Games at the Aquatics Centre, Olympic Park, London.
Great Britain's Nicola Wilson riding Opposition Buzz jumps The Moon fence on the cross country course during The Eventing at Greenwich Park, on the third day of the London 2012 Olympics.
Great Britain's Max Whitlock competes on the vault during the Artistic Gymnastics team final at the North Greenwich Arena, London, on the third day of the London 2012 Olympics
Great Britain's Sarah Clark (left) is thrown by France's Automne Pavia during their WomenÕs 57kg Judo bout at the ExCel North Arena 2, London, on the third day of the London 2012 Olympics.
Great Britain's Richard Brickell during Day 1 of the Skeet Qualification Round at the Royal Artillery Barracks, London, on the third day of the London 2012 Olympics.
Francesca Dallape and Tania Cagnotto of Italy compete in the Women's Synchronised 3m Springboard final on Day 2 of the London 2012 Olympic Games
Kazakhstan's Sergey Lim is thrown by Japan's Masashi Ebinuma (right) in the Men's 66kg Judo Round of 16 at the ExCeL Centre on the second day of the London 2012 Olympics.
Great Britain's Liam Tancock starts his Men's 100m Backstroke First Semi-final at the Aquatics Centre, London.
USA's Venus Williams during the practice session at The All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, Wimbledon, London.
Great Britain's Joseph Regan (blue cap) battles for the ball against Romania in the mens Water Polo preliminary group B match at the Water Polo Arena, London.
Great Britain's Beth Tweddle competes on the uneven bars during the Artistic Gymnastics Team Qualification at the North Greenwich Arena, London, on the second day of the London 2012 Olympics
Rebecca Adlington (C) of Great Britain competes in the Women's 400m Freestyle heat 3 on Day 2 of the London 2012 Olympic Games
Yao Jinnan of China practises on the Beam during training sessions for artistic gymnastics ahead of the 2012 Olympic Games
Bryony Shaw of Great Britain in action during training at the Weymouth & Portland Venue ahead of the London 2012 Olympic Games
Vasiliki Millousi of Greece competes on the beam in the Artistic Gymnastics Women's Team qualification on Day 2 of the London 2012 Olympic Games
Laura Ludwig of Germany dives for the ball during Women's Beach Volleyball Preliminary match between Germany and Australia on Day 2 of the London 2012 Olympic Games
Victoria Komova of Russia competes on the vault in the Artistic Gymnastics Women's Team qualification on Day 2 of the London 2012 Olympic Games
Mike Dawson of New Zealand competes during the Men's Kayak (K1) Canoe Slalom heats on Day 2 of the London 2012 Olympic Games
Heem Wei Lim of Singapore performs on the beam in the Artistic Gymnastics Women's Team qualification on Day 2 of the London 2012 Olympic Games
Michael Phelps of the United States dives into the water to swim his leg of the relay as team mate Nathan Adrian touches the wall during the Final of the Men's 4 x 100m Freestyle Relay on Day 2 of the London 2012 Olympic Games
Emily Seebohm of Australia competes in the Women's 100m Backstroke semi final 2 on Day 2 of the London 2012 Olympic Games
Luol Deng #9 of Great Britain falls as a basket is made against Russia during their Men's Basketball Game on Day 2 of the London 2012 Olympic Games
Austin Playfoot, lights the Olympic Cauldron following it being moved into position ready for the athletics in the Olympic Stadium on July 30, 2012 in London
Great Britain's Sarah Barrow (near) and Tonia Couch practice their diving routine during the training session in the Aquatics Centre at Olympic Park, London.
Great Britain's Rebecca Gallantree (bottom) and Alicia Blagg compete in the Women's Synchronised 3m Springboard at the Aquatics Centre, London, on the second day of the London 2012 Olympics.
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 20: Street artist James Cochran, Aka Jimmy C puts the finishing touches to a piece of work depicting the face of Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt on July 20, 2012 in London, England. The opening ceremony of the 2012 Olympic games will take place in seven days on July 27, 2012. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
Annabelle Smith of Australia practices a dive during a training session ahead of the London Olympic Games at the Aquatics Centre in Olympic Park on July 26, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
A member of Team Australia practices the floor exercise during training sessions for artistic gymnastics ahead of the 2012 Olympic Games at Greenwich Training Academy on July 26, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Diver Tom Daley of Great Britain shakes water out of his hair as he climbs out of the pool during a diving training session ahead of the London Olympic Games at the Aquatics Centre in Olympic Park on July 26, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 26: Tom Daley (R) and Peter Waterfield of Great Britain during a training session ahead of the London Olympic Games at the Aquatics Centre in Olympic Park on July 26, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Adam Pretty/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 26: Tom Daley of Great Britain dives during a training session ahead of the London Olympic Games at the Aquatics Centre in Olympic Park on July 26, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)
Great Britain's Tim Baillie (left) and Stott Etienne in action in the mens double canoe during the training session at Lee Valley White Water Centre, Waltham Cross. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday July 26, 2012. Photo credit should read: Stephen Pond/PA Wire.
Athletes from the Great Britain Women's Synchronised Swimming team practice during a training session ahead of the London Olympic Games at the Aquatics Centre in Olympic Park on July 25, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 25: (EDITORS NOTE: Multiple exposures were combined in camera to produce this image.) A Chinese diver trains ahead of the London Olympic Games at the Aquatic Centre on July 25, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Hannah Johnston/Getty Images)
The Great Britain synchronize team train ahead of the London Olympic Games at the Aquatic Centre on July 25, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Hannah Johnston/Getty Images)
Yang Sun of China swims during a training session ahead of the London Olympic Games at the Aquatics Centre in Olympic Park on July 26, 2012 in London, England.
James Goddard of Great Britain looks on during a training session ahead of the London Olympic Games at the Aquatics Centre in Olympic Park on July 26, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Adam Pretty/Getty Images)
Swimmer Hayden Stoeckel of Australia swims during a training session ahead of the London Olympic Games at the Aquatics Centre in Olympic Park on July 26, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Adam Pretty/Getty Images)
Daniele Matias Hypolito of Brazil chalks her feet on the uneven bars during training sessions for artistic gymnastics ahead of the 2012 Olympic Games at Greenwich Training Academy on July 26, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

It was inevitable, it was truly emotional and after four rounds Katie Taylor, the boxing queen of Ireland, won the gold medal she has deserved for so long.

In the lightweight final, a tense and scrappy mess of a fight broke out with Russia's Sofia Ochigava. However, the action in the ring here at the ExCeL was just part of Taylor's stunning tale of extraordinary brilliance and her position as the sport's greatest female fighter.



It ended with a score of 10-8 and Taylor's smile will remain a memory long after the stands have been dismantled. Taylor has been so dominant for so long that there was a sense that she would romp to victory, but Ochigava has never been easy for Taylor to beat.



The pair were fixed at three wins for Taylor and one for Ochigava going into yesterday's final; Taylor was always a step and a punch in front yesterday.



"I had to stay in control and not panic when I went down after two rounds," said Taylor after completing several laps of the ExCeL with her medal round her neck and an Irish flag floating from her shoulders. "I could hear the noise and I just knew I had to stay cool and give everybody what they wanted. "



Taylor adds the Olympic gold to her tally of four World Championships and five European Championships, which partially explains her standing in Ireland, where her reception whenever she is introduced at public events is always the loudest and the longest. She often fights on pro cards, where she steals the glory.



"I have dreamt of this moment all of my life and it is even better," added Taylor, who carried the flag at the opening ceremony and was also part of the International Olympic Committee's video at the same ceremony. "I hope that this win can inspire people like Michael Carruth's win did for me in 1992. The country stopped for that fight." Well, in Ireland yesterday they stopped to watch Taylor win the medal and it seems they will stop again to welcome her back to Dublin and that party might take a serious toll.



Taylor has been so dominant for so long in boxing's lightweight division that it seems like the only way to beat her, or rather to get the decision over her, is to fight her in one of boxing's European backwaters.



A loss in Bulgaria last year to a local woman was investigated and 13 Bulgarian officials were sacked. On the one occasion when Ochigava managed to scrape a win over her, at a tournament in the Czech Republic in 2010, two of the five judges were from Russia.



She fights with both God and her father on her side and her dad, Yorkshire-born Peter, is in her corner all of the time. "Katie handles the pressure, never loses her cool and always does what she has to do," he said late yesterday, a second or two before embracing Irish broadcasting legend Jimmy Magee in a tearful bearhug. In Ireland Olympic gold medals are rare currency and Taylor, a genuine national idol, has just added the prize to her staggering appeal.



It was a great day for Olympic boxing yesterday with Taylor, Nicola Adams and the once-mighty United States finally winning a gold at middleweight with Claressa Shields, who, at just 17 years and 145 days, is the second-youngest Olympic boxing gold medal winner ever. Not a bad start for the woman.

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