The Olympic Council of Ireland has this afternoon confirmed that four time World boxing champion, Katie Taylor will carry the Irish flag at Friday’s Opening Ceremony at the XXX Olympiad in London.
Taylor will thus be the fourth female to carry the Irish tricolour in the opening ceremony following in the footsteps of Dublin’s Ciara Peelo (2008), current Irish Chef de Mission, Sonia O’Sullivan in 2000 and Michelle Smith in 1992.
Other strong contenders for the role in 2012 are likely to have included Belfast boxer Paddy Barnes, brave Gymnast Kieran Behan and three athletes who will be competing in their fourth Olympics, , Longford shooter Derek Burnett, Malahide sailor, David Burrows, and athlete Olive Loughnane .
Whilst admitting that it had been pointed out to her that women had indeed had the honour of carrying the flag in 1992,2000 and 2008, Sonia O’Sullivan said recently that past history and gender would not affect her decision.
“That really shouldn’t make a difference. If a girl deserves to do it, she should get to do it,” said the Irish Chef de Mission .
“Obviously it will be dictated by when people are competing, and also who would be willing to accept it,” she said and clearly this was a very important factor bearing in mind that the ceremony is unlikely to end before midnight. Taylor does not see action in the ring until August 6th.
Taylor thoroughly deserves this honour, not only because of her success on the world stage so often but also it is widely recognised throughout the boxing world that she, more than most, is the reason that women’s boxing was included in the 2012 Games.
A great role model for all Irish sports stars, male or female, Taylor is also featured on the official video being shown worldwide and earlier this week was named as one of only 12 athletes world wide who will feature in the official Olympics film later this year.
It is estimated that Friday’s ceremony will be watched by “a worldwide audience of over 4 billion people”.
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