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A terrier's welcome for triple gold-winning Paralympian Bethany Firth

Published 20/09/2016

Bethany Firth is greeted by her dog Russell as she arrives at Belfast City Airport.
20th September 2016.
Photograph by Declan Roughan. Press Eye
Bethany Firth is greeted by her dog Russell as she arrives at Belfast City Airport. 20th September 2016. Photograph by Declan Roughan. Press Eye
Pacemaker Press Belfast 20-09-2016: Paralympic hero Bethany Firth arrives home to Belfast Northern Ireland. Triple gold-winning paralympian Bethany Firth has arrived back in Belfast after returning from a record-breaking Rio games for Team GB. The Co Down swimmer won gold medals in 100m backstroke, 200m freestyle and 200m individual medley alongside a silver medal in the 100m breaststroke. Her four medal haul makes her Team GB's most decorated medallist at the games. Picture By: Arthur Allison.
Pacemaker Press Belfast 20-09-2016: Paralympic hero Bethany Firth arrives home to Belfast Northern Ireland. Triple gold-winning paralympian Bethany Firth has arrived back in Belfast after returning from a record-breaking Rio games for Team GB. The Co Down swimmer won gold medals in 100m backstroke, 200m freestyle and 200m individual medley alongside a silver medal in the 100m breaststroke. Her four medal haul makes her Team GB's most decorated medallist at the games. Pictured Bethany Firth and head coach Nelson Lindsay. Picture By: Arthur Allison.
Pacemaker Press Belfast 20-09-2016: Paralympic hero Bethany Firth arrives home to Belfast Northern Ireland. Triple gold-winning paralympian Bethany Firth has arrived back in Belfast after returning from a record-breaking Rio games for Team GB. The Co Down swimmer won gold medals in 100m backstroke, 200m freestyle and 200m individual medley alongside a silver medal in the 100m breaststroke. Her four medal haul makes her Team GB's most decorated medallist at the games. Picture By: Arthur Allison.
Bethany Firth arrives home.
Press Eye - Bethany Firth Wins 3 Gold Medals At Rio Paralympics - 20th September 2016. Photograph by Declan Roughan. Bethany Firth is greeted by Elaine Reid from Disability Sport NI as she arrives at Belfast City Airport. Swimmer Bethany Firth, from Seagorde, became the fifth female Paralympian to claim a trio of gold medals at a single Games - no male Paralympian has yet achieved this distinction. Bethany won the women's SM14 200m individual medley on Saturday night smashing her own Paralympic record with a time of 2:19.55. The hat-trick of gold medals came after she successfully defended her 100m backstroke title and also won the 200m freestyle. The 20-year-old also won a silver medal in the 100m breaststroke final, considered the weakest of her four events. Bethany competes in the S14 class for swimmers with an intellectual disability and said: "I wanted to do something special and I'm so happy with my performance."
Press Eye - Bethany Firth Wins 3 Gold Medals At Rio Paralympics - 20th September 2016. Photograph by Declan Roughan. Bethany Firth is greeted by Elaine Reid from Disability Sport NI as she arrives at Belfast City Airport. Swimmer Bethany Firth, from Seagorde, became the fifth female Paralympian to claim a trio of gold medals at a single Games - no male Paralympian has yet achieved this distinction. Bethany won the women's SM14 200m individual medley on Saturday night smashing her own Paralympic record with a time of 2:19.55. The hat-trick of gold medals came after she successfully defended her 100m backstroke title and also won the 200m freestyle. The 20-year-old also won a silver medal in the 100m breaststroke final, considered the weakest of her four events. Bethany competes in the S14 class for swimmers with an intellectual disability and said: "I wanted to do something special and I'm so happy with my performance."
Pacemaker Press Belfast 20-09-2016: Paralympic hero Bethany Firth arrives home to Belfast Northern Ireland. Triple gold-winning paralympian Bethany Firth has arrived back in Belfast after returning from a record-breaking Rio games for Team GB. The Co Down swimmer won gold medals in 100m backstroke, 200m freestyle and 200m individual medley alongside a silver medal in the 100m breaststroke. Her four medal haul makes her Team GB's most decorated medallist at the games. Pictured (L-R) Communities Minister Paul Givan, Bethany Firth, head coach Nelson Lindsay and Disability Sports NI Elaine Reid. Picture By: Arthur Allison.
Press Eye - Bethany Firth Wins 3 Gold Medals At Rio Paralympics - 20th September 2016. Photograph by Declan Roughan. Bethany Firth with her 3 gold medals and silver medal as she arrives at Belfast City Airport. Swimmer Bethany Firth, from Seagorde, became the fifth female Paralympian to claim a trio of gold medals at a single Games - no male Paralympian has yet achieved this distinction. Bethany won the women's SM14 200m individual medley on Saturday night smashing her own Paralympic record with a time of 2:19.55. The hat-trick of gold medals came after she successfully defended her 100m backstroke title and also won the 200m freestyle. The 20-year-old also won a silver medal in the 100m breaststroke final, considered the weakest of her four events. Bethany competes in the S14 class for swimmers with an intellectual disability and said: "I wanted to do something special and I'm so happy with my performance."
Press Eye - Bethany Firth Wins 3 Gold Medals At Rio Paralympics - 20th September 2016. Photograph by Declan Roughan. Bethany Firth with her 3 gold medals and silver medal as she arrives at Belfast City Airport. Swimmer Bethany Firth, from Seagorde, became the fifth female Paralympian to claim a trio of gold medals at a single Games - no male Paralympian has yet achieved this distinction. Bethany won the women's SM14 200m individual medley on Saturday night smashing her own Paralympic record with a time of 2:19.55. The hat-trick of gold medals came after she successfully defended her 100m backstroke title and also won the 200m freestyle. The 20-year-old also won a silver medal in the 100m breaststroke final, considered the weakest of her four events. Bethany competes in the S14 class for swimmers with an intellectual disability and said: "I wanted to do something special and I'm so happy with my performance."
Press Eye - Bethany Firth Wins 3 Gold Medals At Rio Paralympics - 20th September 2016. Photograph by Declan Roughan. Bethany Firth with her 3 gold medals and silver medal as she arrives at Belfast City Airport. Swimmer Bethany Firth, from Seagorde, became the fifth female Paralympian to claim a trio of gold medals at a single Games - no male Paralympian has yet achieved this distinction. Bethany won the women's SM14 200m individual medley on Saturday night smashing her own Paralympic record with a time of 2:19.55. The hat-trick of gold medals came after she successfully defended her 100m backstroke title and also won the 200m freestyle. The 20-year-old also won a silver medal in the 100m breaststroke final, considered the weakest of her four events. Bethany competes in the S14 class for swimmers with an intellectual disability and said: "I wanted to do something special and I'm so happy with my performance."
Press Eye - Bethany Firth Wins 3 Gold Medals At Rio Paralympics - 20th September 2016. Photograph by Declan Roughan. Bethany Firth with her 3 gold medals and silver medal as she arrives at Belfast City Airport. Swimmer Bethany Firth, from Seagorde, became the fifth female Paralympian to claim a trio of gold medals at a single Games - no male Paralympian has yet achieved this distinction. Bethany won the women's SM14 200m individual medley on Saturday night smashing her own Paralympic record with a time of 2:19.55. The hat-trick of gold medals came after she successfully defended her 100m backstroke title and also won the 200m freestyle. The 20-year-old also won a silver medal in the 100m breaststroke final, considered the weakest of her four events. Bethany competes in the S14 class for swimmers with an intellectual disability and said: "I wanted to do something special and I'm so happy with my performance."
Press Eye - Bethany Firth Wins 3 Gold Medals At Rio Paralympics - 20th September 2016. Photograph by Declan Roughan. Bethany Firth with her 3 gold medals and silver medal as she arrives at Belfast City Airport. Swimmer Bethany Firth, from Seagorde, became the fifth female Paralympian to claim a trio of gold medals at a single Games - no male Paralympian has yet achieved this distinction. Bethany won the women's SM14 200m individual medley on Saturday night smashing her own Paralympic record with a time of 2:19.55. The hat-trick of gold medals came after she successfully defended her 100m backstroke title and also won the 200m freestyle. The 20-year-old also won a silver medal in the 100m breaststroke final, considered the weakest of her four events. Bethany competes in the S14 class for swimmers with an intellectual disability and said: "I wanted to do something special and I'm so happy with my performance."
Press Eye - Bethany Firth Wins 3 Gold Medals At Rio Paralympics - 20th September 2016. Photograph by Declan Roughan. Bethany Firth with her 3 gold medals and silver medal as she arrives at Belfast City Airport. Swimmer Bethany Firth, from Seagorde, became the fifth female Paralympian to claim a trio of gold medals at a single Games - no male Paralympian has yet achieved this distinction. Bethany won the women's SM14 200m individual medley on Saturday night smashing her own Paralympic record with a time of 2:19.55. The hat-trick of gold medals came after she successfully defended her 100m backstroke title and also won the 200m freestyle. The 20-year-old also won a silver medal in the 100m breaststroke final, considered the weakest of her four events. Bethany competes in the S14 class for swimmers with an intellectual disability and said: "I wanted to do something special and I'm so happy with my performance."
Press Eye - Bethany Firth Wins 3 Gold Medals At Rio Paralympics - 20th September 2016. Photograph by Declan Roughan. Bethany Firth with her 3 gold medals and silver medal as she arrives at Belfast City Airport. Swimmer Bethany Firth, from Seagorde, became the fifth female Paralympian to claim a trio of gold medals at a single Games - no male Paralympian has yet achieved this distinction. Bethany won the women's SM14 200m individual medley on Saturday night smashing her own Paralympic record with a time of 2:19.55. The hat-trick of gold medals came after she successfully defended her 100m backstroke title and also won the 200m freestyle. The 20-year-old also won a silver medal in the 100m breaststroke final, considered the weakest of her four events. Bethany competes in the S14 class for swimmers with an intellectual disability and said: "I wanted to do something special and I'm so happy with my performance."
Press Eye - Bethany Firth Wins 3 Gold Medals At Rio Paralympics - 20th September 2016. Photograph by Declan Roughan. Bethany Firth with her 3 gold medals and silver medal as she arrives at Belfast City Airport. Swimmer Bethany Firth, from Seagorde, became the fifth female Paralympian to claim a trio of gold medals at a single Games - no male Paralympian has yet achieved this distinction. Bethany won the women's SM14 200m individual medley on Saturday night smashing her own Paralympic record with a time of 2:19.55. The hat-trick of gold medals came after she successfully defended her 100m backstroke title and also won the 200m freestyle. The 20-year-old also won a silver medal in the 100m breaststroke final, considered the weakest of her four events. Bethany competes in the S14 class for swimmers with an intellectual disability and said: "I wanted to do something special and I'm so happy with my performance."
Press Eye - Bethany Firth Wins 3 Gold Medals At Rio Paralympics - 20th September 2016. Photograph by Declan Roughan. Bethany Firth with her 3 gold medals and silver medal as she arrives at Belfast City Airport. Swimmer Bethany Firth, from Seagorde, became the fifth female Paralympian to claim a trio of gold medals at a single Games - no male Paralympian has yet achieved this distinction. Bethany won the women's SM14 200m individual medley on Saturday night smashing her own Paralympic record with a time of 2:19.55. The hat-trick of gold medals came after she successfully defended her 100m backstroke title and also won the 200m freestyle. The 20-year-old also won a silver medal in the 100m breaststroke final, considered the weakest of her four events. Bethany competes in the S14 class for swimmers with an intellectual disability and said: "I wanted to do something special and I'm so happy with my performance."
Press Eye - Bethany Firth Wins 3 Gold Medals At Rio Paralympics - 20th September 2016. Photograph by Declan Roughan. Bethany Firth with her 3 gold medals and silver medal as she arrives at Belfast City Airport. Swimmer Bethany Firth, from Seagorde, became the fifth female Paralympian to claim a trio of gold medals at a single Games - no male Paralympian has yet achieved this distinction. Bethany won the women's SM14 200m individual medley on Saturday night smashing her own Paralympic record with a time of 2:19.55. The hat-trick of gold medals came after she successfully defended her 100m backstroke title and also won the 200m freestyle. The 20-year-old also won a silver medal in the 100m breaststroke final, considered the weakest of her four events. Bethany competes in the S14 class for swimmers with an intellectual disability and said: "I wanted to do something special and I'm so happy with my performance."
Press Eye - Bethany Firth Wins 3 Gold Medals At Rio Paralympics - 20th September 2016. Photograph by Declan Roughan. Bethany Firth with friends from the Sports Institute as she arrives at Belfast City Airport. Swimmer Bethany Firth, from Seagorde, became the fifth female Paralympian to claim a trio of gold medals at a single Games - no male Paralympian has yet achieved this distinction. Bethany won the women's SM14 200m individual medley on Saturday night smashing her own Paralympic record with a time of 2:19.55. The hat-trick of gold medals came after she successfully defended her 100m backstroke title and also won the 200m freestyle. The 20-year-old also won a silver medal in the 100m breaststroke final, considered the weakest of her four events. Bethany competes in the S14 class for swimmers with an intellectual disability and said: "I wanted to do something special and I'm so happy with my performance."
Bethany Firth arrives home after winning 3 Gold Medals At Rio Paralympics. 20th September 2016. Photograph by Declan Roughan.
Bethany Firth, followed closely by her coach Lindsay Nelson, as they arrive at Belfast City Airport. 20th September 2016. Photograph by Declan Roughan. Press Eye
Bethany Firth arrives home after winning 3 Gold Medals At Rio Paralympics. 20th September 2016. Photograph by Declan Roughan - Press Eye
Bethany Firth arrives home after winning 3 Gold Medals At Rio Paralympics. 20th September 2016. Photograph by Declan Roughan - Press Eye
Bethany Firth is greeted by Lynda Robinson of SERC as she arrives at Belfast City Airport. Photograph by Declan Roughan. Press Eye
Bethany Firth arrives home after winning 3 Gold Medals At Rio Paralympics. 20th September 2016. Photograph by Declan Roughan - Press Eye
Bethany Firth arrives home after winning 3 Gold Medals At Rio Paralympics. 20th September 2016. Photograph by Declan Roughan - Press Eye
Bethany Firth arrives home to hero's welcome. Picture: PA
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - SEPTEMBER 19: Members of the Paralympics GB Team show their medals as the British Airways cabin crew pour champagne prior to the flight back from Galeao Airport on British Airways flight BA2016 to Heathrow Airport on September 19, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images for British Airways)
Great Britain's Melissa Reid arrives back at Heathrow Airport, London. Picture date: Tuesday September 20, 2016. Steve Parsons/PA Wire
Great Britain's Louis Rolfe arrives back at Heathrow Airport, London. Steve Parsons/PA Wire
Great Britain's Anne Dunham arrive back at Heathrow Airport, London. Steve Parsons/PA Wire
Great Britian's Pamela Relph arrives at Heathrow Airport, London. Steve Parsons/PA Wire
Great Britain's Lauren Rowles (right) arrives back at Heathrow Airport, London. Steve Parsons/PA Wire
Great Britain's Rachel Morris (left) and Lauren Rowles arrive back at Heathrow Airport, London. Steve Parsons/PA Wire
Great Britain's Lee Pearson arrives back at Heathrow Airport, London. Steve Parsons/PA Wire
Great Britain's Anne Dickins arrives back at Heathrow Airport, London. Steve Parsons/PA Wire
Family take a selfie whilst awaiting for athletes to arrive at Heathrow Airport, London. Steve Parsons/PA Wire
Great Britain's Sarah Storey arrives back at Heathrow Airport, London. Steve Parsons/PA Wire
Great Britain's Lauren Rowles (centre) arrives back at Heathrow Airport, London. Steve Parsons/PA Wire
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - SEPTEMBER 19: Job King takes a photograph of Lauren Rowles of the Paralympics GB Team prior to the flight back from Galeao Airport on British Airways flight BA2016 to Heathrow Airport on September 19, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images for British Airways)
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - SEPTEMBER 19: Grace Clough of the Paralympics GB Team shows her medal to a member of the British Airways cabin crew as they prepare to fly back from Galeao Airport on British Airways flight BA2016 to Heathrow Airport on September 19, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images for British Airways)
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - SEPTEMBER 19: Grace Clough of the Paralympics GB Team shows her medal to a member of the British Airways cabin crew as they prepare to fly back from Galeao Airport on British Airways flight BA2016 to Heathrow Airport on September 19, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images for British Airways)
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - SEPTEMBER 19: Sarah Storey of the Paralympics GB Team has a selfie taken with members of the British Airways crew as they prepare to fly back from Galeao Airport on British Airways flight BA2016 to Heathrow Airport on September 19, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images for British Airways)
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - SEPTEMBER 19: Grace Clough of the Paralympics GB Team shows her medal to a member of the British Airways cabin crew as they prepare to fly back from Galeao Airport on British Airways flight BA2016 to Heathrow Airport on September 19, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images for British Airways)
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - SEPTEMBER 19: Sarah Storey of the Paralympics GB Team shows her medals prior to flying back from Galeao Airport on British Airways flight BA2016 to Heathrow Airport on September 19, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images for British Airways)
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - SEPTEMBER 19: Hollie Arnold of the Paralympics GB Team has a selfie taken with members of the British Airways crew as they prepare to fly back from Galeao Airport on British Airways flight BA2016 to Heathrow Airport on September 19, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images for British Airways)
LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 20: Jon-Allan Butterworth of the Paralympics GB Team poses with his gold medal onboard the British Airways flight BA2016 from Rio to Heathrow Airport on September 20, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images for British Airways)
LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 20: James Fox and Daniel Brown of the Paralympics GB Team pose with their gold medals onboard the British Airways flight BA2016 from Rio to Heathrow Airport on September 20, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images for British Airways)
LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 20: Sarah Storey and of the Paralympics GB Team celebrate onboard the British Airways flight BA2016 from Rio to Heathrow Airport on September 20, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images for British Airways)
LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 20: Natasha Baker of the Paralympics GB Team poses with her medals onboard the British Airways flight BA2016 from Rio to Heathrow Airport on September 20, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images for British Airways)
LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 20: Steve Stanley Bate and Jody Cundy of the Paralympics GB Team pose with their medals onboard the British Airways flight BA2016 from Rio to Heathrow Airport on September 20, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images for British Airways)
LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 20: Kadeena Cox of the Paralympics GB Team poses with her medals onboard the British Airways flight BA2016 from Rio to Heathrow Airport on September 20, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images for British Airways)
LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 20: Hannah Cockcroft of the Paralympics GB Team poses with her medals onboard the British Airways flight BA2016 from Rio to Heathrow Airport on September 20, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images for British Airways)
LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 20: Sophie Wells, Kadeena Cox, Georgie Hermitage and Hannah Cockcroft of the Paralympics GB Team pose with their medals onboard the British Airways flight BA2016 from Rio to Heathrow Airport on September 20, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images for British Airways)
LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 20: Anne Dunham of the Paralympics GB Team poses with her medals onboard the British Airways flight BA2016 from Rio to Heathrow Airport on September 20, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images for British Airways)
LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 20: Jo Butterfield and Sophie Wells of the Paralympics GB Team celebrate onboard the British Airways flight BA2016 from Rio to Heathrow Airport on September 20, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images for British Airways)
LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 20: Will Bayley of the Paralympics GB Team poses with his table tennis gold medal as they fly back from Rio onboard the British Airways flight BA2016 to Heathrow Airport on September 20, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images for British Airways)
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - SEPTEMBER 19: Pam Relph and Grace Clough of the Paralympics GB Team show their medals in the flight deck as they prepare to fly back from Galeao Airport on British Airways flight BA2016 to Heathrow Airport on September 19, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images for British Airways)

Team GB's triple gold-winning Paralympian Bethany Firth was leapt upon by her most enthusiastic fan as she made a triumphant return to Northern Ireland.

The swimmer's pet dog Russell sprinted across the arrivals hall at Belfast City Airport and into the arms of Britain's most decorated medallist of the Rio games during an emotional homecoming.

Friends and supporters cheered as the 20-year-old from Co Down walked into arrivals with her three golds and one silver round her neck.

"I was so emotional coming through because I didn't expect this whatsoever, and I really am so thankful to everyone," she said.

Sex and the City's Kim Cattrall was on the same flight from London, but even the arrival of a Hollywood star failed to divert the attention of the cameras awaiting the return of Northern Ireland's golden girl.

The athlete from the village of Seaforde said she was now looking forward to spending some quality time with Yorkshire terrier Russell.

"I have been away from home for so long and training lots and lots and now I get time with him which is going to be so good," she said.

Pupils from her old school and friends from church were among those who packed the airport concourse to greet her.

Bethany said she was delighted to be seen as a role model for aspiring Paralympians.

"I really hope I am," she said.

"If someone hadn't started me at such a young age I wouldn't be here so I just hope I can inspire others.

"It's a great sport and it brings you so much joy and you get to meet so many people."

And as for the future, the swimmer will soon be back in the pool training for more glory.

"I never put a limit on what I can do, so I just can't wait to get going and see what happens," she said.

Kim Cattrall later passed on her own congratulations to her gold winning fellow passenger.

"Such an honour for me to meet and congratulate @BethanyFirth2 2Day....Such an amazing achievement!" she tweeted.

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