Minister Donohoe welcomes Team Ireland home after spectacular performance at Special Olympics World Summer Games (LA2015)

4th August, 2015


  • Athletes bring home a grand total of 82 medals (*please note: revised tally)
  • The medal haul breaks down into: 26 Gold, 28 Silver, 28 Bronze, 41 placement ribbons
  • Team Ireland also notched up 31 individual personal bests as athletes shone in the Californian sun
  • Medals claimed in all 12 sports featuring Irish athletes (see full details below)
  • Athletes receive congratulatory messages from the Minster for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Paschal Donohoe TD, & Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport, Michael Ring TD


Team Ireland received a rapturous welcome from hundreds of family members, friends and supporters who gathered in Dublin Airport this morning (Tues) to applaud them, following their outstanding performances at the 2015 Special Olympics World Summer Games.


Team Ireland were greeted by family, friends, supporters and well-wishers as they touched down in Dublin Airport today (TUES). The 88 Irish athletes were cheered loudly as they made their way into the arrivals hall. There may well have been extra baggage for the team’s official airline Aer Lingus to accommodate as the athletes brought home with them an impressive overall medal haul of 82 along with an array of placement ribbons.


The team was led into the arrivals hall by the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Paschal Donohoe TD, the Aer Lingus crew who flew the team home, and Special Olympics CEO, Matt English.


In a statement, Minister Donohoe, paid tribute to all of the hard work put in by Team Ireland athletes and coaches over the past 10 months. “A big ‘welcome home’ to Team Ireland who performed so well at the Special Olympics World Games achieving gold, silver and bronze medals, place ribbons and personal bests,” Minister Donohoe commented. “I know every member of the Team trained very hard for the Games and we are all very proud of them.  I want to congratulate the athletes, family members and management team and Special Olympics Ireland who provided such great encouragement and support.  I am sure that taking part in the Games will provide wonderful memories for all involved for many years to come,” he added.


These sentiments were echoed by ministerial colleague, Michael Ring, the Minster of State at the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport, who described the 88 athletes as “ambassadors” for their country. “I want to congratulate each of our wonderful Special Olympic athletes on their hugely successful performances at the World Games.  It is a tremendous honour to represent your country and the athletes have proved to be excellent ambassadors for Ireland. They are truly an inspiration to us all and their fantastic achievements at the Games are very well deserved.  I commend the many volunteers whose abundance of goodwill, generosity of spirit and commitment has brought the Team here day. Well done to you all.”


The curtains came down on the 2015 World Games on Sunday 2nd of August with a closing ceremony at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum featuring singer songwriter Carly Rae Jepsen and Victoria Arlen, Paralympic gold medallist. Team Ireland competed in 12 different Olympic style sports during the Games. Their selection to Team Ireland came after four years of training and competition.

A 40-strong coaching and management team supported the athletes in Los Angeles, with 155 Team Ireland volunteers working at the Games. Over 300 family members also made the trip to cheer the athletes on.

Speaking in the wake of what was a hugely successful World Games, Special Olympics CEO Matt English said: “So much work goes into preparing a team for competition on the World sporting stage. Team Ireland put a huge amount of effort into their training schedule in advance of these Games and they certainly reaped the rewards in Los Angeles. So many of our athletes recorded personal best performances as well as medal wins and we are equally proud of all of our athletes regardless of whether they return home with medals or not. The overall results of the Team are testament to the hard work and dedication of both the athletes and their coaches. I applaud each and every member of Team Ireland and congratulate them on their outstanding sporting achievements.”


Special Olympics is a year-round sports organisation for athletes with intellectual disabilities and is supported by the Irish Sports Council and Sport NI. Team Ireland sponsors include Eircom, Aer Lingus and Gala who all pledged significant funds to help send Team Ireland to Los Angeles.


Notes to Editors:


Team Ireland final medal tally (please note tally was revised after final day’s result):

82 medals: 26 Gold, 28 Silver, & 28 Bronze


  • Throughout the Games the iconic city of Los Angeles welcomes 6,500 athletes from 165 countries to the 2015 Special Olympics World Summer Games.
  • Running from July 25 – August 2, 2015 – the World Games were one of the largest sports events anywhere in the world in 2015.
  • The Games were the single biggest event in Los Angeles since the 1984 Olympic Games.
  • The Games opened on July, 25th 2015 with a star-studded Opening Ceremony at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, site of the 1932 and 1984 Olympics Games.
  • John Treacy, CEO of the Irish Sports Council, who won a historic silver medal at the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles, was joined by actor Colin Farrell, a long-time supporter of the Special Olympics movement and Claudine Keane, wife of Irish football captain, Robbie Keane to lead Team Ireland out at the LA2015 Opening Ceremony. Both of the Keane’s are current ambassadors for Team Ireland.
  • US President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama are serving as co-chairs of the 2015 World Summer Games.
  • LA2015 will close with a special Closing Ceremony on Sunday 2nd August at the at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum featuring appearances from singer songwriter Carly Rae Jepsen and Victoria Arlen, Paralympic gold medallist.


2015WorldSummerGamesFast Facts


Athletes:6,500 Gamesduration:9days
Venues:25 Sportsevents:27
Countries:177 Honouredguests:5,000
Volunteers:30,000 Mediarepresentatives:2,000
Coaches:2,000 Spectators: 500,000plus