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Golden spirit Kellie Harrington says her feet 'have been on the ground firmly' since coming home

'This is my community. No matter where I live in the world, this is my community and they're a great bunch'

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Kellie Harrington during the open top bus parade (PA)

Kellie Harrington during the open top bus parade (PA)

Kellie Harrington during the open top bus parade (PA)

Gold medallist Kellie Harrington has said she “wouldn't want to be anywhere else in the world” as she bathes in the afterglow of her Olympic success. 

Back home “a week and a day” since she stepped out of the ring, she said: “I'm still coming down from my high, well I haven't really been up, my feet have been on the ground firmly.”

Speaking to FM104’s Strawberry Alarm Clock, the 31-year-old Dubliner said “no decisions have been made yet” regarding her future career.

“That will come in due course,” she said. “ I have to sit down with my coach from my club, Noel Burke, and then with the Irish coaches and with Bernard (Dunne) and we'll see what happens going forward."

Referring to the scenes of joy as she was welcomed home to Portland Row on an open-top bus last week, Harrington said, “I wouldn't want to be anywhere else in the world."

"Sometimes people offer congratulations and say well done, and it's just a thing that they say, but people genuinely mean it," she said.

"People are genuinely happy and they were genuinely happy throughout those two weeks. I've seen videos of them all now celebrating and watching the boxing.

"If I could be here at the same time as being in Tokyo, this is exactly where I would be.

"It's just been amazing,” she added. “ I love this country and I wouldn't want to be anywhere else in the world."

As for being a role model and an inspiration to those in her local area, Kellie said: "It's not even about the area, it's not like if someone from this area can do something special.

"On Portland Row, among this community, you have Wes Hoolohan, Jack Byrne, Olivia O'Toole, Lynn Rafferty, Barry Geoghegan, Sean Arkins, we have so many sporting heroes, actors, actresses and all that.

"It's about inspiring the next generation, it's about inspiring my generation, it's about inspiring everybody,” she insisted. “It's nothing got to do with the area and disadvantages, we just take that out.

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"I don't look at it as in 'this area'. People say it's disadvantaged, it's not. Our community is fantastic for support, we all get behind each other all the time.

"It's all I've heard since I got off the plane, of you have a great community, but I've been saying this every chance I've got in the media. Did people not believe me then? Did they think I was talking porkie pies?

"Now all of a sudden they're seeing it and this is the truth. This is my community. No matter where I live in the world, this is my community and they're a great bunch.

"Over the years I've been trying to do things to bring the community together, to get the community out, just involved with each other.

"I run a Kellie Harrington fun day, once a year, we do it in the pitch at the back of my Ma's. All of a sudden I'm away, and neighbours meet neighbours they never knew. The new generation, the old generation, mixing together.

"People who haven't seen each other, or who haven't spoken to each other for years are now friends and hugging and stuff.

"With the whole Covid situation people haven't been out of their bubble or out of their shell in the guts two years. Now all of a sudden everyone's out and they're celebrating and they're happy and they're crying tears of joy.

"To me that's what it's about. Gold medals are gold medals, but that's gold. This is a golden community, this is a golden spirit."

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