THIS WEEK IN 1997: Farewell Portsmouth '“ thanks for the memories

As the 1997 Special Olympics Great Britain drew to an end, hundreds of competitors, coaches and spectators prepared to say farewell to their host city of Portsmouth.

Thursday, 5th July 2018, 11:31 am
Updated Monday, 16th July 2018, 5:09 pm
Special Olympians say their good-byes to their host city of Portsmouth.

Olympic athlete Roger Black stepped on to the medal podium at the Mountbatten Centre, Portsmouth, and drew the loudest cheer of the special week when he roared: '˜Hello fellow Olympians'.

Those watching were moved by his touching tribute in which he drew no distinction between the Olympics in Atlanta in the summer of 1996 and the Special Olympics in his home town '“ and the disabled athletes who gave their all in Portsmouth were particularly appreciative.

He said: '˜One of the proudest moments of my life was when I became an Olympian.

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'˜We are a very select band.

'˜You should all feel the same, whether you have won medals or not.

'˜You should be proud of yourselves just as we are all proud of you,' he added.

The former Portsmouth Grammar School pupil said: '˜I'm a bit biased because I'm from Portsmouth, but I think everyone has done a splendid job down here this week.'

The Special Olympics was set up so adults and children with intellectual disabilities could take part in various sports competitions. There are 140 Special Olympics clubs in Great Britain today.