Address at Team GB & Paralympics GB Athletes Reception
17 October 2016
From the first men’s swimming Gold Medal for 28 years to the first ever British Gold Medals in diving, gymnastics and – yes – women’s hockey, you won Gold Medals in more sports than any other nation. And with an incredible 30 more Paralympic Golds than London 2012, you set a staggering 49 new Paralympic Records and 27 new World Records.
Time after time, the nation came to a halt as you wrote your names into the history books. You have helped to shape our future, too. Today, in school playgrounds, in parks and in sports centres across the country, children are dreaming of emulating your success. Children of every faith and background inspired by the lessons that you have taught us – about hard work, dignity, true sportsmanship and above all, what it means to be part of a team.
And because of the incredible performance from our Paralympians, there are thousands more people now thinking differently about disability; thousands of people whose first thought about a disabled person is no longer what they can’t do but rather – rightly – what they can do. You’re changing perceptions and helping to create a better Britain and a better world.
This has been a homecoming for heroes, because that is what you are. Thank you for bringing our country together in a wonderful sense of pride. Thank you for inspiring generations to follow in your footsteps. And thank you for making Britain one of the world’s great Olympic and Paralympic Superpowers. Thank you.