Fans of Olympic hopeful Katie Taylor caused a network outage on Wednesday afternoon, when they attempted to watch her fight online. She fights in the Olympic final in her class today.
It is expected millions will tune in to her gold medal match today. Ireland has not won a gold medal in the Olympics since boxer Michael Carruth won in Barcelona in 1992.
RTE, Ireland’s national broadcaster has predicted that the country “will be at a standstill” when Taylor fights later today.
Taylor, 26, an evangelical Protestant, who reads the same bible verses before every fight, has become Ireland’s latest sports hero as she has battled her way to the Olympic final after winning the gold at the World Games in 2010.
On Thursday Taylor will enter the ring in the lightweight final against Russia's Sofya Ochigava in her bid to become one of the first Olympic women's boxing champions in the world.
Securing a place in the final, Taylor gained a 17-9 victory against Tajikistan’s Mavzuna Chorieva as thousands of Irish fans cheered the gold medal on in London’s ExCeL arena.
In Taylor’s home of Bray Co. Wicklow, around four thousand locals turned out to watch the 26-year-old world champion in Wednesday’s semi final. The seaside town came to a standstill as the fight was broadcast on two large screens on the main street.
As well as local fans, internet users tuning into watch the fight online caused the website of Irish state broadcaster RTÉ to crash. A surge in users caused an outage in RTÉ’s online player, the broadcaster later explained.
Airfibre, an IP network provider in Ireland and the UK reported increased activity during the Olympic showdown.
According to Silicon Republic their activity increased by 800percent during the fight, and decreased by 50 percent immediately after the fight.
“Pleased to say the Airfibre network stood up to the pressure and we congratulate Katie on doing the same!” said Airfibre’s chairman and CEO, John Earley.
British Prime Minister David Cameron also watched Taylor fight on Wednesday at the ExCeL arena and was moved by the atmosphere generated by the thousands of Irish supporters who dominated the 10,000-strong crowd.
“It is an incredible venue and good to see so many of the Irish here today. They make a lot of noise. The boxing was really impressive. I thought it was fantastic and great to watch,” Cameron said.
Bray's reaction to Katie Taylor Olympic boxing semi-final victory