Scots Olympic stars given a welcome home in Edinburgh

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Fans of Scotland’s Olympic and Paralympic athletes gathered in Edinburgh to give their heroes a welcome home to remember.

Cheering as more than 50 athletes made their way out on to a stage, around 1,000 people waved flags in the city’s Festival Square yesterday afternoon to celebrate the team’s achievements.

After a live interview session with Bryan Burnett and Rhona McLeod, who were hosting the event, the athletes mingled with the crowd, signing autographs and posing for photographs.

Cyclist Callum Skinner, swimmer Dan Wallace and wheelchair tennis player Gordon Reid were among those who made an appearance.

Double medallist Skinner, who was brought up in the Bruntsfield area of the city, said: “When you’re in Rio your surrounded by people like Usain Bolt and Novak Djokovic, and you don’t feel that significant having a gold and silver medal around your neck.

“But when you come it definitely sinks in a lot more. It’s quite surreal being part of the homecoming celebrations.

“It’s amazing to see so many people interested and enthusiastic about in sport.”

Jo Butterfield, who won gold in the F51 club throw final at the Paralympics, said support from the Scottish crowds had been “phenomenal”.

Butterfield added: “We have all done so well and I think we’re all proud of each other, which is a nice thing to be able to come together and share and celebrate that.”

Earlier in the day, dozens of athletes were cheered by children as they arrived at Oriam, Scotland’s new sports performance centre at Heriot-Watt University.

There the event included a question and answer session, as well as an opportunity for young people to try Olympic sports such as rowing, judo and tennis.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said the athletes had “done their country proud”.

Olivia Hall, 20, a student at Edinburgh Napier University, who turned out to welcome Scotland’s athletes, said: “Events like this are great because it allows the public to show their support for the athletes, and all the hard work they’ve put into their achievements.”

Deputy Lord Provost Steve Cardownie added: “The atmosphere has been great. There was fair turnout despite the weather. We only see it for a few minutes on TV, but today we recognised all the work that goes into it on a daily basis, the hours and hours of training.”