BROMSGROVE’S special Olympians have returned to Great Britain with smiles on the faces.
Basketball player Ben O’Brien, 22, and golfer George Brunt, 31, are now back from their trip of a lifetime where they represented Team GB at the Special Olympics 2015 World Summer Games last week.
Ben, who has autism, and his team scooped the gold after winning every match in their division, beating Latvia, China and Italy in the process.
While George, who has Down’s Syndrome, did not manage to win a medal he did get a sixth place ribbon and beat his personal best on three of the four courses he played on.
A total of 7,000 Special Olympics athletes from 177 countries took part in 28 different games – there were 115 athletes with intellectual disabilities attending from across England, Scotland and Wales. There were also more than 30,000 volunteers and more than 500,000 spectators.
Their trips were all funded by a £2.3million Government grant which was secured by Bromsgrove MP Sajid Javid.
Ben said: “LA was a very nice and beautiful city.
“The games were alright – they were a little bit hard.
“I am really happy with my gold medal.”
Gail, Ben’s mum, said: “It went fantastic – the American people were so friendly.
“The whole team played really well – I am very proud.”
Liz Brunt, George’s mum, said it was very hot and she thought the heat had got to her son by his last game.
“George thought it was all fantastic – he was just in a very tough group,” she added.
“His coach said ‘on the course and in around the club house everybody knew and loved George – who was an absolute gem of a lad’.”
“I am looking forward to having him home, I have missed him very much.”
George’s brother Guy Brunt and his girlfriend Lizzie Doolittle went over to LA to watch him play.
Lizzie said: “We are so proud to be a part of such an amazing week.
“The special Olympics is truly amazing – giving such beautiful people a chance to really shine – especially George he is such an inspiration.”