Athletes selected for the World Games in LA gathered last night to enjoy the hospitality of The US Ambassador in London.

The Special Olympics Great Britain team gathered at Winfield House, London, residence of The US Ambassador, His Excellency Mr Matthew Barzun ahead of their trip to compete in the Special Olympics World Games in Los Angeles.

Special Olympics GB‘s World Games team of over 100 athletes with learning disabilities – across 19 sports from England, Scotland and Wales departs from Heathrow Terminal 3 this afternoon.

Last night’s event was attended by stars of stage, screen and sport.  The Professional Footballers’ Association’s CEO, Gordon Taylor was also in attendance to confirm that The PFA are very kindly providing support to the two Special Olympics GB football teams at the World Games.

Most of the athletes looked relaxed and were in good spirits ahead of what will be a huge competition and there was a confident atmosphere in the grounds of Winfield House as everyone enjoyed the kind hospitality of His Excellency.

Speaking with Able Magazine, His Excellency outlined his passion for the Special Olympics movement and his pride that it was nurtured from the dream of American, Eunice Kennedy Shriver, saying: “I love that you use the word ‘nurture;’ because it isn’t a word that we use in government a lot and yet that is exactly the right word sitting here in this beautiful garden. Nurturing is what it takes to grow things from small ideas in the soil and it also takes sun and rain – as we sit here in the rain – good news and bad news, competition and cooperation; it’s all part of it and what it is has grown and flowered and blossomed into, is just incredible.

I got a chance to shake hands and say hello to each of the Team GB athletes coming in and you could just see in their face the excitement of what they’re embarking on tomorrow.”

The athletes are ready and can’t wait to get on the plane.  This time tomorrow, they will be in LA ready to start their World Games story.