Proud was "too simple" of a word for how athletes and their families felt at this year's Special Olympics.
That's according to George O'Connell, father to bronze-medal swimmer Eoin O'Connell, who was speaking for Unbeatable Together, a documentary which celebrates the Special Olympics in Berlin.
The hour-long podcast by Newstalk's Henry McKean delved into the success and tears of emotion as Team Ireland brought home 75 medals this summer.
Podcast: Extended Documentary: Unbeatable Together https://t.co/V9aWIBETE9 via @NewstalkFM @SOIreland #SpecialOlympicsWorldGames @mariashriver @MaryDavisSO @mattpenglish @karenjcoventry @Paudcast_ie @SpecialOlympics #Berlin
— Henry McKean (@HenryMcKean) August 7, 2023
Donning their green, Irish athletes competed in 12 sports with a team of 73 athletes, supported by a 36-strong coaching and management team.
While the team in green may have varied in gender, race, and age, there was one common theme that ran through the weekend – pride.
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Mayo man Sean Sammon is a veteran of the Special Olympics – having played for Ireland for 16 years.
Representing Ireland in table tennis, playing in Berlin was a "dream come true," Sammon said.
Swimmer Eoin O’Connell's father, George O'Connell, told Henry that their family was still not used to having an "international athlete" in their midst after his bronze win.
"He's put on the green jersey and he's won an Olympic medal," he said.
"We're beyond proud, proud is too simple a word to use for how we feel about him."
Ireland's football team scored a triumphant 13 goals against Switzerland – the perfect Father's Day present for PJ, father to team captain Stephen O'Leary.
"His town, his country, everyone is behind him," his parents said. "It's unbelievable, it's an understatement to be proud."
Speaking after the game, the captain said the win was an "amazing feeling".
"It's a great first win," he said.
As the 73-team Ireland athletes returned home from the Special Olympics World Summer Games – they did not do so empty-handed, with athletes claiming 24 gold medals, 22, silver, and 29 bronze.
On June 26th, Team Ireland arrived at Dublin Airport on an Aer Lingus flight to a guard of honour and rapturous applause as family and friends filled up the airport.
"I'm so proud to be Irish right now," said one woman, between tears. "For such a small country, we support everybody."
Michelle Kenny, who secured a bronze for bowling, had a family of supporters waiting in the sea of green as the flight landed.
"We're just so proud, it's amazing to see this here and to see the support that they're getting," said her sister Gillian. "It's just brilliant, they deserve it".
Down Jenna Carty's great-aunt's face, streamed a steady line of tears as the gold medal basketball winner arrived home.
"We're over the moon, she's just a special person in our lives," she said.