Excitement blooms as Team Ireland get set for Special Olympics Winter Games

Newstalk's Henry McKean reports from Austria

BY Raf Diallo 14:04 Monday 20 March 2017, 14:04 20 Mar 2017

On Saturday, March 18th, the opening ceremony of the 2017 Special Olympics World Winter Games took place in Austria.

Team Ireland is among 104 participating nations and the Irish team is compromised of 26 athletes, featuring six alpine skiers and 20 floorballers.

Newstalk's Henry McKean is in the Alpine town of Schladming, which is one of the host locations, and has been getting a taste of the atmosphere.

"Well it’s been a fantastic atmosphere so far, despite heavy rain for the opening ceremony, 12,000 family members packed into a stadium at the bottom of the ski slope," said Henry on Newstalk Breakfast.

"Athletes from over 100 countries braved the conditions. The Athletes took the Special Olympics oath promising, 'Let me win, but if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt'. Helene Fischer a local pop star sang and it was powerful - an electric Special Olympics feeling, and you could feel the hair on the back of your neck with the rain."

Henry adds: "The Irish have been celebrating St Patrick’s Day all weekend so there's been lots of excitement".

You can listen to more from Henry in Austria via the podcast player below:

There will be more from Henry from the Special Olympics World Winter Games on Newstalk Drive between 4 and 7pm.

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