When The Lion King was announced as the theme of this year's Late Late Toy Show, we're sure a few people across Ireland might have guessed that Kellie Harrington might have been lined up as a special guest.
Harrington was never shy to utter the words "Hakuna Matata" on her run to Olympic gold in Tokyo this summer. She appeared on Friday's Late Late Toy Show to surprise two young boxers from Dublin in brilliant style - but her and host Ryan Tubridy joked that the Olympic medal was the only way she could have gotten a ticket.
Kellie Harrington makes heartwarming Toy Show appearance
It's fair to say that just about everyone in Ireland took to Kellie Harrington over the summer, after her amazing gold medal win in Tokyo. It wasn't just the medal success that endeared her to the nation, but her kind hearted and happy out personality.
On Friday's Late Late Toy Show, two young sports nuts from Dublin, Darcy and Poppy, appeared and revealed their sporting heroes. Alongside Katie Taylor, Mo Salah, and Cristiano Ronaldo, they both shouted out Kellie Harrington's name as one of their idols.
Darcy and Poppy then took part in a "bestos" quiz to prove how close their friendship was. Feeling left out of the whole thing, Ryan Tubridy decided to surprise both of them by bringing out a "besto" of his own, Olympic champion Kellie Harrington.
It was no surprise that Harrington arrived on set wearing a Lion King t-shirt, given her love for the film's iconic phrase "Hakuna Matata". She famously said the phrase into a ringside camera after sealing a medal in Tokyo, and she brought the same fun, feel-good energy to the Toy Show on Friday night.
'Hakuna Matata'@kelly64kg, says so pic.twitter.com/Vqa3xhkFP8
— RTÉ Sport (@RTEsport) August 3, 2021
With the first question, Ryan Tubridy revealed that Harrington had applied for tickets for the show as a member of the public. Harrington said the tickets were "like gold dust", before Tubridy joked that the only way to get a ticket was to win an Olympic medal.
The appearance of the Ave Maria later in the show rivalled it, but we think that the award for most Irish moment of the show also goes to Harrington. When she was introduced to young Darcy and Poppy, Darcy asked Harrington if she knew her sister, an up-and-coming boxer - to which Harrington amazingly said yes. She said that Darcy's sister was a very talented fighter.
Harrington was and continues to be an inspiration for so many young sportspeople in Ireland and, when asked by Tubridy to give some advice to the two kids, her words were spot on:
Just be yourself and surround yourself with all your friends and be positive. Look at these two best buds here, they're so close! Everybody needs a Darcy and a Poppy in their life.
The new pals practising a little shadow boxing backstage 🥊#latelatetoyshow | @latelaterte | @Kelly64kg pic.twitter.com/ieHdR67Oqg
— The Late Late Show (@RTELateLateShow) November 26, 2021
Kellie Harrington remains a total class act, and proved on Friday's Late Late Toy Show that she's someone that Ireland can truly be proud of.