Olympic and Paralympic stars set for Manchester parade

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The parade is the official homecoming for the Olympians and Paralympians

Great Britain’s Olympic and Paralympic stars will parade through Manchester later to celebrate their record-breaking performances at Rio 2016.

The procession, described by Prime Minister Theresa May as a “celebration fit for heroes”, will begin at the Museum of Science and Industry at 16:30 BST.

More than 150,000 people are expected to line the route of the parade.

London will have its own celebration on Tuesday in Trafalgar Square.

Team GB set an Olympic record in Rio 2016 by winning 67 medals – two more than they managed at London 2012.

The Paralympians also set a new record in Rio with 147 medals – 27 more than four years ago.

Manchester was chosen for the first parade to reflect the contribution made by athletes from across the UK, the government said.

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Jessica Ennis-Hill, who won heptathlon gold for Great Britain at the London 2012 Olympics, retired from athletics earlier this week

Stars including Jessica Ennis-Hill, Dame Sarah Storey, Max Whitlock, Jade Jones and Nicola Adams will be among the athletes attending.

Team GB’s Women’s Hockey Team will also be there alongside Paralympians including Jonnie Peacock, Jody Cundy, Ellie Robinson, Ellie Simmonds and Richard Whitehead.

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Some of the athletes visited the BBC studios in Salford ahead of the parade which starts at 16:30 BST

Singers Olly Murs and Rebecca Ferguson will perform live to the crowds in Albert Square, where the parade will end.

The city has become the hub for Team GB and Paralympics GB’s all-conquering cyclists and para-cyclists since the opening of Britain’s first indoor Olympic cycling track there in 1994.

Sue Murphy, deputy leader of Manchester City Council, said: “We couldn’t be more thrilled to host the national parade.”

She added: “The city has been a medal factory, pumping out golds as the home of British Cycling and British Taekwondo.”

Bill Sweeney, chief executive of the British Olympic Association, said: “The British public have a fantastic opportunity to meet their Rio heroes.”

Made in Manchester

Many of Team GB’s heroes and the Paralympic stars have lived and trained around Greater Manchester.

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Cyclists Jason Kenny and Laura Trott added a wedding to their post Rio celebrations

  • The velodrome training centre for Team GB’s track cycling athletes, who have brought home 11 Olympic medals, is based in the city with many of the team living nearby – including Sir Bradley Wiggins who will be absent from both celebrations
  • Jason Kenny, now one of Britain’s most decorated Olympians, hails from Bolton in Greater Manchester, who married fellow gold-winning cyclist Laura Trott recently, while team pursuit gold-medallist Steve Burke comes from nearby Colne in Lancashire
  • Taekwondo star Jade Jones, originally from Flint in north Wales, now lives and trains in Manchester
  • Rower Matt Langridge, who won gold in Rio with the men’s eight, was born in Crewe and grew up in Northwich, Cheshire
  • Britain’s most successful Paralympian – the swimmer turned cyclist – Dame Sarah Storey was born in Eccles and is based in Disley, Cheshire

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Paralympian Dame Sarah Storey won her record-breaking 14th gold medal in Rio

The procession, which is the city’s largest sporting celebration since Manchester United’s parade after their Champions’ League, Premier League and FA Cup treble in 1999, takes in Deansgate, Huntsbank, Todd Street, Corporation Street, Exchange Square, Cross Street and finally Albert Square, where the finale, starting at 17:30, will also be broadcast on big screens within the city centre.

Several city centre roads will be closed but extra trams have been laid on and with more than 5,000 free parking spaces made available at locations around the city and in neighbouring towns.

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