Carole becomes a double champion
WEXFORD Special Olympian Carole Ryan was met by a cavalcade of well wishers when she returned from Athens yesterday (Tuesday) with two gold medals.
The 19-year-old gymnast from Newtown was met by family and friends at the Beehive and her arrival back to Wexford was accompanied by plenty of car horns and flag waving.
Carole did us proud last week when she won gold in the asymmetrical bars and the vault, as well as picking up ribbons in other gymnastic disciplines.
Her achievements will be honoured by Wexford Borough Council on Saturday when a civic reception is held in her honour in the Irish National Heritage Park. Afterwards a big party is planned for White's Hotel.
Carole was joined at the Special Olympics World Summer Games by her parents Tim and Mary, her sisters Jessica and Nicola and her brother Andrew.
There were also familiar faces from Wexford Special Olympics Club out in Greece, including Sinead Sinnott, Marie Baker, Phyllis O'Farrell and hard-working club secretary Rosari McDonald. Wexford also sent two volunteers to the games, Catherine Kehoe and Gemma Carroll.
However, all the focus was on Carole who, according to her proud mother Mary, 'played a blinder'. Carole is a talented gymnast, but her victory in the asymmetrical bars, in particular, was notable as there are none for her to practise on in Wexford!
Instead her father Tim made some for Carole to use at home and her sister Nicola - a volunteer with Wexford Special Olympics Club - helped her with her training.
Apart from her great success in the gymnastics, Mary said that Carole ' had a ball' in Athens. 'She met lots of people from different countries and that's the big thing for Carole - meeting people and making new friends. She won more than medals: she won hearts,' said Mary.