Not everyone had heard of Scott Evans prior to his Olympic heroics, but only those living under a stone could plead ignorance to the existence of Katie Taylor, the outstanding Irish athlete of our time.
And so while we all shared in Scott’s disappointment when he failed to make it through to the men’s singles badminton quarter finals last night, seeing Katie beaten both inside and outside the ring was too much for many to take.
And yet, even after 35-year-old Finn Mira Potkonen danced all over her opponent’s Olympic dream, Katie called on that characteristic courage to try and explain to the nation what had just happened in the ring.
“It’s been a very tough year,” she said. “I’ve suffered a lot of losses this year.” And she has, both in the ring and out, with her father no longer in her corner and her confidence given a knock by two big defeats.
Regardless of what happened yesterday and whatever was to blame, she will always be a legend with a legacy no other female Irish boxer is likely to match. But her tormented face after her defeat will remain one of the abiding Irish images of these Olympics.
And so with just one Irish boxer still in Olympic contention - Michael Conlon is due to step into the ring in the men’s bantamweight quarter finals at 3.30pm today - it falls on the shoulders of Annalise Murphy to keep the female flag flying when she competes today in the Women’s Laser Radial (dinghy) after unsuitable weather for sailing forced deferral of her race yesterday.
Should the race again fail to go ahead because of weather conditions, Annalise will automatically be awarded an Olympic bronze medal as that reflects her current standing in the competition.
And while Scott Evans was licking his wounds last night after being beaten by world number-four seed Viktor Axelsen of Denmark in straight sets, losing 21-16, 21-12, the Dubliner still managed to make history at the Rio Games, as the first Irishman to win a badminton match at the Olympics.
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