Invincible spirit is showcased at Games
Published 05/08/2015 | 02:30
In a sea of tricolours on a tide of elation, the all-conquering heroes of the Special Olympics came home.
With a trove of 82 medals, they have returned triumphant from the Los Angeles World Games.
As Matt English, chief executive of Special Olympics Ireland, who was waiting to greet his band of brothers and sisters in sport, explained: "It's not about the number of medals, it's about each athlete doing their best.
"By that measure, this was a brilliant competition," he said. No-one could argue with that.
Also at the terminal waiting for her son Seán 'JP' Coleman (23), a double silver medallist at the Games, was Fidelma Coleman. The understandably proud mother said: "Seán defied the odds and was always smiling through it all."
The trademark of sporting greatness is a healthy scepticism regarding odds, trusting instead in their own limitless resolve: they battle on regardless; a spirit epitomised by these athletes.
As has been said before, true heroes are heroes because they are heroic in their behaviour and not because of whether they have won or lost.
The Games may be over but the athletes are now under starter's orders for the celebrations, and so they should be.