The first brother and sister to box at the Olympic Games. While Michaela Walsh’s first Olympic Games may not have ended the way she would have hoped – she will forever be etched in history.
In June, alongside brother Aidan Walsh, the siblings made history when they both qualified for the Olympic Games. The pair were born four years apart but secured Olympic qualification within an hour of each other in Paris.
The bond between the siblings couldn’t get any tighter. To share their Olympic moment together makes it even more sweet.
“Definitely, it was a childhood dream of mine since I started boxing,” said the 2018 European bronze medallist.
“Even before it [women’s boxing] wasn’t in the Olympics, it was still a dream of mine. Then to do it with my brother is unbelievable. It’s hard to describe, I don’t think it will sick in until we come back from Tokyo.
“I felt more proud of him qualifying than myself. I know what he does day in and day out. He’s my younger brother as well so for him to qualify – it meant more for me. If he hadn’t qualified, I would have felt guilty going to Tokyo without him!”
Walsh’s dream of securing an Olympic boxing medal Italy’s Irma Testa – the current European Champion. The pair had previously met at the Olympic European qualifiers in Paris last month where the Italian also got the better of Walsh. The draw couldn’t have been harder for the Belfast fighter, who would have been favourite against any other opponent.
Speaking after the fight, the featherweight said, “This fight doesn’t define me. As much as I wanted to win a medal, I will be back again, and I still think I’m up there with some of the best in the world.”
Coming into the Games, Walsh had her eyes set on a gold medal. Aiming for the sky is what has been instilled in her at a young age. Being a a two-time Commonwealth Games silver medallist, two-time European Games silver medallist and a 2019 World Cup gold medallist – she justifiably had high expectations.
“From when I was younger my father instilled it in us. To be the best you can be. I always wanted to be the hardest training in the gym. I remember an old coach of mine said look at that girl she’s training harder than all the boys. That always stuck with me. So always in the gym as a girl you always have to prove yourself.
“I always aim for gold but if I get it I get it and if I don’t, I don’t. That’s the same mindset no matter what but that’s what I believe in. Why not aim for the stars? If you get there unbelievable, if you don’t you move on and go again.”
One fight won’t define her career. When you step back and look at the bigger picture – her journey has been impressive.
”I think it started when I asked my dad could I go to training with Aidan. My dad didn’t even know if women were allowed box. I asked him could I go down to the boxing gym and he said no. it wasn’t because he was against women’s boxing it was just alien to him. He didn’t know women were allowed to box.”
While the journey may be over for Michaela, she will be putting all her time in supporting her brother. While her own Olympic dream may be over – you can guarantee she will be thrilled to see her younger brother realise his Olympic dream.
“My brother now, just rooting all the way for him. Hoping he can take it back for the Walsh household,” said Michaela after her defeat.’