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Kell surprise RTE reveals over 193,000 watched Kellie Harrington's Olympic gold medal fight

Despite the early hour, tens of thousands of viewers watched as brilliant Dubliner from Portland Row boxed her way to Olympic glory

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Irish boxing Olympic hero Kellie Harrington shows off her gold medal at Dublin Airport. Picture: Collins

Irish boxing Olympic hero Kellie Harrington shows off her gold medal at Dublin Airport. Picture: Collins

Irish boxing Olympic hero Kellie Harrington shows off her gold medal at Dublin Airport. Picture: Collins

More than 193,000 people set their alarm clocks to watch Kellie Harrington lift the hearts of the nation in Tokyo on Sunday morning, RTE has revealed. 

Despite the early hour, tens of thousands of viewers tuned in at 6.25am as the brilliant Dubliner from Portland Row boxed her way to Olympic glory.

The Olympics have been a ratings winner for the broadcaster, as an average of 141,000 viewers watched two hours of Olympic highlights every night on RTÉ2.

There were almost 268 hours of free-to-air RTÉ coverage over the course of Olympic Games (RTÉ2 plus RTÉ Player),and coverage reached 2.6m people on RTÉ Television.

There were 850,000 streams on RTÉ Player throughout Tokyo 2020 and 13.2 million views of Olympics content for RTÉ Sports across YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

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Decorations near Kellie Harrington’s home in Portland Row, Dublin (Niall Carson/PA)

Decorations near Kellie Harrington’s home in Portland Row, Dublin (Niall Carson/PA)

Decorations near Kellie Harrington’s home in Portland Row, Dublin (Niall Carson/PA)

RTÉ presenters, Jacqui Hurley, Clare MacNamara, and Des Cahill were in the thick of the action in Tokyo, while Darragh Maloney was joined in studio each evening with RTÉ’s stellar line up of expert panelists which included Derval O’Rourke, Sonia O’Sullivan, Rob Heffernan, and David Gillick.

Other highlights included Skibbereen duo Paul O’Donovan and Fintan McCarthy becoming the first Irish rowers in history to win gold, and rowers Aifric Keogh, Eimear Lambe, Fiona Murtagh, and Emily Hegarty, who were Ireland's first medalists at the Games, securing bronze.

RTÉ Player saw streaming surges for Mona McSharry's 100m breaststroke final, where she made the country proud in scooping 8th position.

There were the bittersweet moments when boxer Aidan Walsh was forced to withdraw from his Olympic welterweight semi-final against Pat McCormack following an injury, which still saw him coming home with a Bronze title.

Des Cahill and RTÉ viewers were there to witness the emotional moment of Emmet Brennan’s defeat and Team Ireland felt the blow when Natalya Coyle was moved to tears seconds after she learned her Tokyo 2020 dream had ended.

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Group Head of RTÉ Sport, Declan McBennett, said: “RTÉ Sport was privileged to carry the very best of global sport in the world’s greatest showpiece.

“Even more important was our role in reflecting the hopes dreams and aspirations of the biggest ever Irish Olympic team. We were delighted to showcase the culmination of a remarkable journey for our athletes and show just how well Ireland could compete and better those from any nation on earth.”

He added: “The national moments created around these Games particularly in rowing and boxing will live long in the memory of the Irish audience and help inspire a future generation of boys and girls to strive for the very highest standards in sport.”

Meanwhile, Councillor Nial Ring has said Olympic gold medallist Kellie Harrington should be a "shoo-in" for Dublin's Freedom of the City.

He was speaking ahead of the boxer's arrival back in Ireland this afternoon after her win in Tokyo, along with other Team Ireland Olympians and bronze medallist Aidan Walsh.

On Newstalk Breakfast, Councillor Nial Ring says it's unfortunate there can't be a larger homecoming - but officials are working hard to make sure Kellie is brought through the area.

“It is a pity the whole country can’t welcome her home, but it’s just unfortunate that’s the way it is at the moment.

"Hopefully she gets the Freedom of the City, and we can really have a good event then - a proper civic reception, which is no more than she deserves."

Councillor Ring has put Kellie's name forward for the Freedom of the City - an honour which would put her among only a few dozen others.

He explained: “If ever there was a shoo-in for the Freedom of the City, I think it has to be Kellie. It’s going for around 150 years, and there have only been 82 - bizarrely, on the roll at the moment, there are only two women.

"It’s nearly 30 years since the last woman received it, which was Mother Teresa.

“The fact there’s no woman sportsperson and no boxing people on it… it’s something that has to be put right, and no better woman than Kellie.”

He said he has brought the idea to Lord Mayor Alison Gilliland - the only person who can formally nominate someone for the Freedom of the City.

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