Olympic heroes were given a warm Wearside welcome on a visit to the home of the Black Cats.
During Saturday’s clash against Arsenal, Sunderland AFC honoured the stars of Rio 2016 at the Stadium of Light
Athletes from Team GB and Paralympics GB received a standing ovation from the Sunderland crowd as they took to the pitch during the half time break.
Athletes Kadeena Cox, Beverley Jones, Jade Jones, John Robertson, Sabrina Fortune, Aly Dixon and Pat McCormack were joined by Olympic legend and Sunderland supporter, Steve Cram, who praised the achievements of the athletes.
Steve said: “After a phenomenal summer of British sporting success in Rio, it’s fantastic to be able to recognise the Olympic and Paralympic heroes here in Sunderland. Their success shows how important it is to offer a wide and diverse platform of sporting opportunity for our young people in the region.”
Also amongst the stars was Paralympian gold medallist and Sunderland born swimmer Matt Wylie.
Speaking about the experience Matt said: “I train at the nearby Aquatic Centre which is right next to the Stadium of Light and don’t often get the chance to go to games as I’m often training, so it was a nice experience and the reception I got from the crowd at half time was unbelievable.
“I would like to thank everyone at Sunderland AFC for making this happen.”
Gary Hutchinson, commercial director at Sunderland AFC, said: “It was an honour for the club to host some of this summer’s stars of Team GB and Paralympics GB. They brought great pride to everyone across the country and it was only right that we thanked them for their achievements.”