Yorkshire to celebrate Olympic success with a welcome fit for heroes

Team GB athletes including (front-row, left-right)  Helen Richardson, Sarah Thomas, Nicola White, Hannah McLeod, Victoria Pendleton, Beth Tweddle, Georgie Twigg, Laura Unsworth, Emily Maguire and Kate Walsh

Team GB athletes including (front-row, left-right) Helen Richardson, Sarah Thomas, Nicola White, Hannah McLeod, Victoria Pendleton, Beth Tweddle, Georgie Twigg, Laura Unsworth, Emily Maguire and Kate Walsh

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Yorkshire’s Olympic heroes will be welcomed home this week at a series of civic receptions, with a grand parade set to be held in the capital next month for all of the British athletes who took part in the London 2012 Olympics.

Today Leeds hosts a civic reception for its athletes, with Nicola Adams, as well as Alistair and Johnny Brownlee expected to be joined by a crowd of hundreds to toast their success.

A similar reception will be held in Hull for boxer Luke Campbell with city bosses in Sheffield still mulling how best to honour Jessica Ennis.

Last night calls were made by the British Olympic Association (BOA) to recognise all of Team GB’s gold medallists in the honours list.

Every Olympic champion at the Beijing Games in 2008 was given honours and BOA chairman Lord Moynihan said it is vital that the stars of Team GB at London 2012 receive the plaudits they deserve.

“Those who have given great service to the country through sport should be recognised and we will be looking to promote consideration for those athletes who have done such a fantastic job,” he said.

“It is right and important that the country has an opportunity – and the honours list is one of those opportunities to recognise their contribution, of that I have no doubt.”

In London a grand parade, called Our Greatest Team, will travel from Mansion House in the City of London through to central London on September 10.

London mayor Boris Johnson said the parade is a way of recognising “the supreme achievements” of the athletes and hopefully getting youngsters to take part in sport.

He said: “The men and women competing in this year’s Games are role models for our times, underlining the virtues of aspiration, hard work and commitment. Team GB’s medal haul has been outstanding and we can expect another magnificent showing during the Paralympic Games.”

Andy Hunt, Team GB’s chef de mission and the British Olympic Association chief executive, believes the parade will also act as a thank-you from the 541 Britons who competed at the Olympics to their vocal fans.

He said: “This unprecedented success was helped by the huge impact of the passionate vocal support of the home crowd, who encouraged Team GB’s athletes to achieve their personal best in the venues.

“The parade of Our Greatest Team on September 10 will provide an opportunity for the nation to recognise and celebrate the special achievements of this unique group of athletes, and importantly, for the members of Team GB to show their appreciation and gratitude for the inspirational support they have received from the great British public throughout the London 2012 Games.”

The focus now will turn to the Paralympics, with British Paralympic Association chief executive Tim Hollingsworth saying: “It’s our turn now to show the nation what we can do on home soil.”

Meanwhile the Olympics appear to have lifted the mood of the entire nation, with more than half of Britons saying their spirits were raised by hosting the games.

Fifty-one per cent of Britons 
said team GB’s success would have a lasting effect on UK sport, with one in five being inspired to take part in more sport themselves.

But fewer people feel the Games have been good value for money. Just 36 per cent said London 2012 was money well spent.

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