The athletes returned from the Special Olympics World Summer Games held in Los Angeles July 25 to August 2, 2015, returning home with a record breaking 23 medals, 11 Gold, 10 Silver and 2 Bronze, captured by a team of 18 athletes. The St. Kitts and Nevis Special Olympians were among 6,500 athletes who represented 165 nations seen around the world by a television audience.
Prime Minister Harris, who visited the athletes in Los Angeles, said he was pleased that so many persons turned out to welcome the athletes back home. He said, “Their performances have been exceptional… They brought glory to the name of St. Kitts and Nevis.” He described them as “heroes” and “heroines”.
“They are showing the world and more of us in St. Kitts and Nevis that not withstanding the fact that they are differently abled, that is not a bar to outstanding achievement and excellence,” the prime minister said.
But Prime Minister Harris also had special words for the parents, whom he said must be applauded for the care, attention and acceptance of the special children. He said, “I congratulate you for that support, that encouragement you have given to them, and in their participation, they showed you that the care, the attention and the support that you gave was useful, and it was rewarding.”
Ivor Blake, the national director of Special Olympics St. Kitts and Nevis was particularly appreciative of the support that the team received. He told the welcoming party, “It’s all about inclusion and acceptance of the Special Olympics Movement. It’s all about supporting them and understanding that they are special in their own way.”
Commenting on the achievement of their record breaking medal count, Blake said, “It was a lot of hard work – the parents, the fans, who really pushed them on, and the coaches really helped them to perform the way that they performed.”
Prime Minister Harris said a special congratulatory event will be planned shortly for the Special Olympics athletes in recognition of the national appreciation of their performance.