Olympics and Paralympics parade: 20,000 fans hail Scottish heroes
SCOTLAND showed its appreciation for its Olympic sporting heroes yesterday, when thousands lined the streets of Glasgow to cheer them on the official homecoming parade.
People of all ages lined the city centre streets as the nation celebrated the summer success of its Olympic and Paralympic athletes.
Around 10,000 fans attended a rally in the centre of the city - with another estimated 10,000 lining the streets to wave and cheer at the sports stars.
A sea of red, white and blue greeted the Scottish stars as their open-top bus made it’s way on a mile-and-a-half long route.
Many fans hung out of office windows and cheered as the Olympic stars waved and smiled in the late summer sunshie.
And in the city centre fans - many on top of lamp posts and statues - scrambled to get a glimpse of the heroes.
When the athletes appeared to face their fans, the crowd gave a huge cheer – the loudest reserved for Sir Chris Hoy’s much-
The star said: “It’s nice to be part of the team; it’s not just me. People have said to me, ‘I had no interest in the Games and ended up glued to the TV’.
“Thank you so much, everybody, for coming out here today. All the athletes are saying it is way better than anybody could imagine. It means so much to us.
“Everywhere you go, people are buzzing about it still. There is still so much energy and enthusiasm and excitement.”
The cycling sensation has been named an official ambassador for the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.
Sir Chris added: “People are going to be massively behind it. I’m sure people will be
surprised just how spectacular these games will be.”
Asked about the chances of him competing in 2014, he said: “I’ll let the dust settle, get back into light training and keep things ticking over for the next couple of months.
“It will be next year before I really make the decision. My body will make the final call.”
Scottish athletes won a record-breaking 13 medals at the Olympics and 11 medals at the Paralympics.
Rower Katherine Grainger, who with Anna Watkins brought home Team GB’s first gold, described the public’s reaction to the summer success as “overwhelming”.
She said: “It has been over for five weeks, but to some extent it hasn’t sunk in. It’s been amazing ever since – it has always got better. There have been parades and celebrations, meeting members of the public who watched it and cried and celebrated along with us. You realise you are part of a very special event.
“Sport went crazy and the
nation got it. It is lovely to come and look them in the eye and thank them for their support.”
Runner Lynsey Sharp said: “I’ve never seen Scotland like this other than for football – it’s amazing. A lot of athletes said it was the best-organised
And cyclist Neil Fachie said: “This is just amazing. Thank you very much, Glasgow. I didn’t expect to see so many of you here.”
Officials said the free event at George Square attracted a capacity crowd with places filled well before the athletes arrived.
A notable absentee from the parade, tennis champion Andy Murray, still received an enormous cheer when he appeared in a montage of Scottish Olympic athletes displayed on a large video screen in the square.
A sea of red, white and blue greeted the Olympic heroes at the square and a pipe band played as they were introduced to the adoring crowd. As they left the bus, they were greeted by First Minister Alex Salmond and Lord Moynihan, director of the
London Organising Committee, who congratulated them on their success.
Mr Salmond said: “London has set the bar very high indeed, and we are aware of that. Glasgow is going to rise to the challenge and hopefully do even better.
“I think the volunteers were a huge success, and that is certainly something we will be emulating. All the good things that happened in London we are determined to do more of.”
Glasgow’s celebrations mark the beginning of several similar events around Scotland this weekend. Murray will arrive back in Dunblane on Sunday to a heroes welcome, while Hoy and his fellow medallists will parade through Edinburgh, before he is given the Freedom of the City. In Aberdeen, canoeist Tim Baillie, Grainger and Paralympic cyclist Neil Fachie will be among the Olympians on board an open-topped bus on Sunday.
After the city centre celebrations, the athletes and their families attended a reception
Louise Martin, chairwoman of Sportscotland, said: “This
celebration was a fitting tribute for all of the Scottish athletes in Team GB and Paralympics GB.
“The unbelievable crowds which turned out were a sight to behold and show just how much the Scottish public appreciate these wonderful athletes.
“We move forward to the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games. It will be with excitement, optimism and belief that Team Scotland will deliver its best ever Games.”
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Weather for Edinburgh
Sunday 19 May 2013
Temperature: 9 C to 16 C
Wind Speed: 7 mph
Wind direction: North east
Temperature: 9 C to 20 C
Wind Speed: 8 mph
Wind direction: North