Great Britain’s Olympic and Paralympic stars have paraded through Manchester to celebrate their record-breaking performances at Rio 2016.
More than 150,000 people braved the rain to line the parade route sporting gold hats and waving flags.
The procession started at the Museum of Science and Industry and ended in Albert Square where 400 athletes are gathering on stage.
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 bested their previous performance 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.
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.
Singer Rebecca Ferguson and the Kaiser Chiefs are performing live to the crowds in Albert Square, where the parade will end.
Sports stars including Jessica Ennis-Hill, Dame Sarah Storey, Max Whitlock, Jade Jones and Nicola Adams are among the athletes who attended.
Ennis-Hill said even though she was “a bit wet” it was “a really nice occasion to come here and be on the float, celebrating Rio, and also saying goodbye to everyone”.
Team GB’s Women’s Hockey Team were also there although goalkeeper Maddie Hinch, who saved all four penalties in the shootout in the final against the Netherlands, nearly missed the parade.
Her flight from the Netherlands, where she now plays, was cancelled but luckily three hours later she was on the way.
Paralympians were also out in force including Jonnie Peacock, Jody Cundy, Ellie Robinson, Ellie Simmonds and Richard Whitehead.
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.
- 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. He married fellow gold-winning cyclist Laura Trott recently.
- Their teammate – 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
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, took in Deansgate, Huntsbank, Todd Street, Corporation Street, Exchange Square, Cross Street and finally Albert Square, where the finale is being broadcast on big screens within the city centre.
BBC One will broadcast coverage live from 16:15 until 18:30 with a 30 minute highlights show from 20:30
Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-manchester-37631537