Loudest cheer of Olympics so far created by Irish female boxer

Katie TaylorFour-time world champion Katie Taylor’s wait to box at an Olympic Games ended on Monday when she progressed to the semi-finals in style, guaranteeing Ireland a medal in front of boisterous fans who raised the loudest roars of the Games.

Taylor, a sporting hero in her country who was at the forefront of the campaign to get women’s boxing into the Olympics, was at her clinical best, demolishing world championship bronze medallist Natasha Jonas of Britain 26-15.

While British fighters have boxed in front of partisan crowds every day so far, Jonas’ supporters were outnumbered and outsung by the rambunctious Irish, dressed in green jerseys and sporting the national tricolour flag.

An Olympic official said the decibel level during the Taylor fight hit 113.7, the highest at the Games so far – surpassing the cycling finals at the velodrome and not far behind the 140 decibel roar of a jet engine.

“I’ve never experienced an atmosphere like this before. I knew it was going to be great but it took me by surprise a small bit. It’s a privilege to box for them, as well as my country,” Taylor told reporters.

“It was always going to be a tough contest, Ireland against Great Britain. I couldn’t let her beat me.”

When Taylor’s name was mentioned for the first time a full 90 minutes before her fight, London’s boxing arena shook with a roar that one Irish fan said could even be heard at the nearby wrestling arena.

Inside the arena, fans witnessed the best atmosphere at a fight yet as the neighbouring rivals exchanged chants of ‘Team GB (Great Britain)’ and ‘Ole, Ole, Ole’, a chorus usually reserved for Irish soccer matches.

“I’m not going to make any excuses, she’s still the best, she comes out on top every time,” the defeated Jonas said.

“There is nothing else I could do. I could have maybe thrown the kitchen sink at her, I could have maybe driven a bus into her.”

Taylor is carrying the hopes of a nation that has not won gold since Michelle Smith’s three swimming victories in 1996, and even those were tarnished by her suspension in a doping controversy two years later.

The boxer looked every inch a gold medal winner in waiting. She was briefly troubled in the second round but extended her advantage in a final two-round battering that saw Jonas receive two standing counts, thanks to a couple of thunderous right hands that any Olympic competitor, male or female, would have struggled to stand up to.

After Sunday’s momentous session of bouts when women boxers competed for the first time, storming the last all-male bastion of sport at the Summer Games, Taylor said they were showing the world exactly why they have now been included.

“People didn’t really realise the standard of women’s boxing. I think we’re shocking the world here this week, they can’t believe the standard and it’s opening their eyes,” she said.

Taylor, also a five-times European champion at lightweight, next faces Tajikistan’s Mavzuna Chorieva after she surprised twice world amateur championship silver medallist Dong Cheng of China, securing her country’s first medal in the process.

Adriana Araujo of Brazil and Russia world number two Sofya Ochigava, also impressive in a 22-4 victory, will contest the other lightweight semi-final.

Earlier, three-times world flyweight champion Ren Cancan from China recorded a comfortable 12-7 win over Russia’s Elena Savelyeva, who became the first woman to win a bout at an Olympic Games on Sunday.

Britain’s Nicola Adams, twice a runner up to Ren at the world’s, also progressed along with Marlen Esparza of the United States and Indian national treasure Mary Kon who, by qualifying for the semi-finals, are guaranteed a medal.

In the middleweights, British world champion Savannah Marshall’s Olympics were ended by Kazakh Marina Volnova.

Controversy over mini Minis at Olympic athletics

Fans at the Olympics have been chuckling at the sight of the miniature radio-controlled Minis which are being used to help out officials at the athletics.

The cars have been used to return javelins, discuses and hammers to competitors in the field events at London 2012, saving time and effort for all involved and adding a light-hearted element to the serious business at hand.

But the remote-controlled cars whizzing around the athletics stadium have triggered branding questions. The Olympic venues at the London Games are supposed to be strictly ad-free, but the use of the distinctive cars appears to be blatant advertising.

The International Olympic Committee ensures adverts or logos of products are not visible in the fields of play in line with its Olympic Charter despite sponsors paying hundreds of millions of dollars to be associated with the Games.

The Minis, made by German car manufacturer BMW who is also a Games sponsor, may not carry visible logos but are instantly recognisable for what they are.

However, they are not the iconic British-owned Minis produced from 1959-2000 but the new type produced by BMW.

“There is no commercial reason (behind choosing Minis),” said Timo Lumme, the IOC’s director of TV and marketing services, when asked if branding rules were being broken.

He said the choice as transporters for the athletes’ equipment was not dictated by a commercial decision.

Since the start of the athletics competitions last week, the Minis have instantly become a point of discussion with their use inside the stadium raising the questions of whether the IOC was indirectly relaxing its own strict ad rules.

He said the International Association of Athletics Federations, responsible for the track and field competitions at the Olympics, had cleared the use of the small vehicles.

“IAAF validates several different transporters. Yes, it happens to be the official partner of the London Games but there is no commercial delivery,” he told a news conference.

“There is no link between the sponsorship and the coverage of the physical fact that these are mini Minis on the field of play,” Lumme said.

The IOC’s rule on advertising states that no form of advertising or other publicity shall be allowed in and above the stadia, venues and other competition areas which are considered as part of the Olympic sites.

Commercial installations and advertising signs are not be allowed in the stadia, venues or other sports grounds.

There are three of these vehicles in total. Each puts in four-hour shifts across nine days of athletics competition, covering six kilometres per day.

The Mini also featured in the Games opening ceremony but again it was the new version and not the one symbolising iconic British post-war design.

“The bottom line is that the producer showed an individual quirkiness, a fantastically entertaining take on British history,” said Lumme of the car’s presence in the opening ceremony.

“The Mini is an incredibly known globally, British icon. Again Rule 50 compliant. No logos,” he said.

The London Games have received some £700m from sponsors wishing to be associated with the 2012 Olympics.