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Irish Golfers Look Back on Berlin: “It’s the Best Thing You’ll Ever do!”

As the movement celebrates the one-year anniversary of the Special Olympics World Games Berlin 2023, Irish golfing twins Sarah and Trudy Hyland reflect on the impact of the Games.

One year ago, the Special Olympics World Games Berlin 2023 changed the lives of over 6,500 athletes who gathered in the German capital to celebrate together.

The fireworks of the spectacular Closing Ceremony have long since faded but the Games remain a powerful driving force for the athletes who competed, among them Special Olympics Ireland golfing duo Sarah and Trudy Hyland.

The Hyland twins now feature in a new collection of videos capturing the transformative impact of those Games.

“We Don’t Like to Lose!”

Naturally competitive, Sarah and Trudy openly admit that they do not like to lose. Alongside coach Nuala Lydon, they put in hours of practice out on the course ahead of any competition. They admit, however, that their long experience of Special Olympics competitions has taught them that you simply cannot win all the time!

They know that it’s not all about the competition. In Berlin, as well as the golf itself, Sarah and Trudy had great fun just taking in the whole experience, particularly the magical Opening Ceremony.

On their return to Ireland, they were greeted as celebrities with hundreds of people lining the streets to welcome them back. “We couldn’t go the airport without journalists catching us. Everywhere we looked, they were taking photographs of us!” Sarah notes gleefully.

This experience of community-wide homecomings for athletes is echoed in towns and villages across Ireland, Eoin O’Beara Special Olympics Ireland Munster Regional Director notes. He adds, “This creates a sense of equality. It’s just there.”

Twins wearing Special Olympics Ireland jackets smiling with their thumbs up
The Hyland twins competed in golf at the World Games Berlin 2023

“They were so proud, and we were so proud of Them”

The pride in Cobh for Sarah and Trudy is palpable. The town hosted a special presentation for them on their return from Berlin. Their coach, Nuala Lydon says, “There was a real buzz, it was fantastic. They were so proud, and we were so proud of them.”

Sarah and Trudy both live independently and combine their golfing calendars with their jobs. The twins conclude their story with a smile, “Anyone can do anything they put their mind to!”

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