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Terminator Arnold Schwarzenegger slams troll who derided Northern Ireland Special Olympics hero

By Rachel Martin

Arnold Schwarzenegger has been praised after he defended a Special Olympics competitor from Northern Ireland who was targeted by an online troll.

The Hollywood action hero hit out after cruel comments appeared below a video in which Schwarzenegger had spoken of how Paralympians, including Team Ireland silver medallist Cyril Walker, had inspired him.

But the jealous troll said the games "make no sense" and sneered at those who compete in them, using disparaging language.

The star of The Terminator blockbusters responded personally to the attack.

"As stupid and evil as this comment is, I'm not going to delete it or ban you (yet) because it's a teachable moment," he wrote.

"Right now I guarantee you that these athletes have more courage, compassion, brains, skill - actually, more of every positive human quality than you.

"So take their path - you could learn from them, and try to challenge yourself, to give back, to add something from the world.

"I know what you want is attention, so let me be clear, if you choose to keep going this way, no one will ever remember you."

A screenshot showing the exchange has been shared tens of thousands of times and praised widely on social media.

Team Ireland skiers from this side of the border set the pace at the Special Olympics Winter Games in Austria. Cyril (46), from Markethill, claimed silver in the novice slalom, an alpine discipline that sees competitors hit speeds of up to 30mph as they manoeuvre between poles on a downhill course.

His sister Valerie said the whole family was proud of his achievements.

"We have had a fantastic week and we have had great fun. Cyril has done us so proud. His timings are getting quicker every day, he has done magnificently."

Team Ireland faces competition from 3,000 athletes representing 110 countries on the Alpine slopes, bringing home two golds, three silvers and three bronzes.

In the intermediate slalom Sean McCartan (16) from Co Down clinched gold, and Co Antrim teenager Caolan McConville (13) claimed bronze.

The 12-day international competition began on March 14, and the Ireland team was given a heroes' welcome back in Dublin Airport on Saturday.

In total, 26 athletes represented Team Ireland, competing in slalom and floorball, a type of hockey.

Team Ireland head ski coach Jill Sloan said the competitors' success was "absolutely unbelievable".

"Some of the guys have never been at a World Games before, including Sean and Caolan," she said. "Caolan is only 13 years of age. The medals they have achieved are incredible. We can't ask for any more. They have had an amazing time, it has been so much fun. I just can't believe it - I cried buckets."

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