independent

Wednesday 16 April 2014

Kenny helped me cope with fame, says champ Katie

Olympic Gold Medalist Katie Taylor pictured with Thirteen year old Jessica Kirwan from Marino College

OLYMPIC champion Katie Taylor has said she learnt a lot from fellow boxer Kenny Egan on how to handle fame and recognition outside the ring.

The gold medallist from Bray, Co Wicklow, said that while she has been humbled by the warm response from the Irish public in recent months, her life has changed dramatically since the London Games last year.

"I don't think my life will ever be normal after the Olympics – I think that was the hardest thing to get my head around and adjust," she said. "I have to be a bit more conscious when I'm heading out.

"I learnt a lot from Kenny. He was an overnight superstar, so it must have been hard for him to deal with. My family and faith helped me."

The 26-year-old yesterday became an official ambassador of the Sky Sports Living for Sport free outreach programme for second-level students, following a successful pilot programme with nine Dublin schools.

She has come on board as a role model for the thousands of young people aged 11 to 16 set to take part in the programme.

Katie will champion the work of other inspirational athletes such as David Beckham and Jessica Ennis to help students learn teamwork and achieve more at school.

"Every child is born for greatness, so it's up to us to draw that greatness out," said Katie. "Sport has brought out the best in me. I've had setbacks – there's no easy way to success.

"It was tough for me because I had to break down barriers when I started boxing.

"There was no female boxing – it was a big battle and I just needed to overcome all of that.

"The impact of this campaign on these kids has been life-changing."

Among those at yesterday's launch was Sky Sports presenter and Irish Independent columnist Rachel Wyse who hosted a question and answer session with Katie and fellow mentor, retired sprinter Darren Campbell.

Junior welterweight boxing champion Colm Bracken (13), from O'Fiaich College in Dundalk, Co Louth, said meeting Katie was a dream come true.

See www.skysports.com/ livingforsport.

Irish Independent

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