Boxer Kellie Harrington wants a family and tries to set a good example for kids
"I enjoy a normal life. I enjoy going to work. I don't need to be something I'm not... I'm not into flash stuff, even when I make a few bob I wouldn't buy a load of flashy stuff"
Kellie Harrington has revealed she is dreaming about starting a family, as she thanked the Irish nation for embracing her relationship with partner Mandy.
In an exclusive interview with the Sunday World at a SPAR Better Choices event, our gold medal-winning boxing heroine has given an insight into a year when her life changed forever after her historic triumph at last year's Tokyo Olympics.
Yet fame is not a commodity this humble Dublin girl is keen to embrace and she has confirmed as much by turning down lucrative offers to follow Katie Taylor's path and cash in on her Olympic gold by moving into the professional boxing ranks.
Instead, she is continuing in her job as a cleaner at St Vincent's Hospital and is looking forward to a second stab at Olympic glory in the Paris 2024 games.
Now Harrington says she is already thinking about life after boxing and what will come next with her partner Mandy.
At the top of that list of priorities will be starting a family, as the 32-year-old told us she already has a vision for how the couple will raise their children.
"I would love to have kids," she said. "For anyone who has kids, they are your own flesh and blood, your own little creation.
"Imagine another little Kellie Harrington going around... I don't know if the world is ready for that yet!
"Would I allow my kids to go into boxing? What I'd say is I'd encourage my kid to try all sports. Sometimes parents live their lives through their kids and that's awful.
"So I'd take my kids to every sport and whatever one sticks is fine by me. I don't mind if it's boxing or one of the other cheaper sports, but I won't be taking them to the expensive sports, that's for sure."
Harrington's life with Mandy has inevitably been the subject of media interest since her moment of Olympic glory that inspired a tearful outburst of joy for a nation locked in the grip of the pandemic last August.
Yet it says much about the changing face of Ireland that the coverage of Harrington's same sex relationship has all been positive, as she suggests this has highlighted how far we have come in accepting change.
"In general, the media and everyone have been very respectful of my private life and if there are ever times I don't want to touch on stuff, they don't push on it," she continues.
"I'm very thankful for that because they could keep pushing and make life miserable for me, but that hasn't happened.
"We are living in a very open-minded country. Times are changing, people are changing and everyone is open and they letting people be who they want to be. That's amazing. Whether it's sexuality, sporting, career, we are all open and I think our little nation is fantastic for that.
"It used to be a story of being 'the only gay in the village'... now it has turned around and you are asking if you are the only straight person in the village!"
All too often, sports stars and national icons fail to use their fame and profile as a force for good, yet Harrington insists she will always try to promote a positive image.
That explains why she has walked away from lucrative sponsorship deals as she insists money is not driving her ambitions.
"I have had a chance to be a role model and that is important to me," she added.
"I want to be associated with brands that I would choose, my mother and father would choose, or what I would want my kids to have in the future."
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