SHE KEPT IT together after winning her final bout against Russian Sofya Ochigava, while accepting her long-overdue Olympic medal and even when Ireland’s national anthem was belted out by the 10,000-strong Excel Arena audience last Thursday.
But the tears eventually came yesterday as Katie Taylor’s town gave the 26-year-old boxer the welcome-home she deserved.
Thousands of men, women and children – a mix of proud locals and excited fans from further afield – waited patiently in Bray, county Wicklow from Monday afternoon for a glimpse of their Olympic hero.
When the gold medalist arrived on an open-top bus, they were ready to give her a reception she just couldn’t believe.
Overwhelmed by the support, she could be seen mouthing to master of ceremonies Des Cahill that the scenes were just “unbelievable”.
Although no official figure has been released, it is understood that more than 20,000 people turned up to Bray for the official homecoming, which included a parade, short speeches and presentations, live music and a fireworks display.
Also being recognised was local Garda and Olympic boxer Adam Nolan, as well as Katie’s dad and coach Pete Taylor.