Wednesday 23 October 2019

Sonia O'Sullivan expresses regret over bringing Katie Taylor to an Irish House after her Olympic triumph

Katie Taylor and Sonia O'Sullivan
Katie Taylor and Sonia O'Sullivan Newsdesk Newsdesk

Irish athletics legend Sonia O'Sullivan has expressed regret over bringing Katie Taylor to a party after she secured her historic Olympic gold at the London 2012 Olympics.

The Cobh woman also said that she believes her appointment to the OCI board in 2008 was a 'publicity thing'.

In a wide-ranging interview with Vincent Hogan, the Olympic silver medallist discussed how she brought the Bray boxer to a celebration when she knew that neither of them wanted to be there.

"I remember when Katie Taylor won her medal, I had to bring her to this Irish House and it was the last place on earth that she wanted to go. You know she's just not into pubs or anything like that, but I was getting constant phone calls, 'Where is she? Where is she?'," she said.

"I remember being in the back of the car going down there, saying to her, 'I know that this is the last thing you want to do . . . ' I would have been exactly the same, going into a crowd full of people who are totally drunk. They mean well, but it wasn't done properly for someone who had just achieved what she had achieved.

"And Katie was telling me that all she wanted to do was go to McDonald's, have some time for herself and her family to just reflect on the whole thing. But, at that moment, it's like you're owned by the Olympic Council I suppose.

"We went there and they had this small stage roped off. There was a bit of security there, but not much. It was around midnight, this heaving crowd, the place absolutely packed. All these people pushing in on top of everybody. Katie came in and everybody was cheering. Most people couldn't actually see her, they just knew she was there and seemed happy enough with that.

"So when Katie left, I became the next best thing. It took ages to get out of there but, when we did, I remember walking down the road, Pat Hickey and Willie O'Brien walking in front of me. And I just felt, 'They don't even care!'

"The thing was to get Katie there, they didn't care what I did. And that was one moment when I began to ask myself, 'Why are you doing all this?' It was just a photo-opportunity for them. And that's when you kind of realise it's all a game. Because nothing was properly organised, everything was kind of last-minute."

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