Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Let Us Inspire You to Take Up Sport, Say Heroes of Rio as London Welcomes Them

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Let Us Inspire You to Take Up Sport, Say Heroes of Rio as London Welcomes Them

Article excerpt

Byline: David Churchill

BRITAIN'S Olympians today urged a new generation of aspiring athletes to seize the "unique" opportunity created by the record-breaking legacies of London 2012 and Rio 2016.

They made the call as the country's Olympic and Paralympic heroes prepared for a huge celebration in Trafalgar Square and a reception with the Queen at Buckingham Palace.

Thousands were expected to gather at the foot of Nelson's Column today for the "Heroes' Return", with Mayor Sadiq Khan set to give a speech hailing Rio as Team GB's most successful Olympics ever away from these shores. Ahead of the ceremony, Mr Khan also called on the next generation to seize the moment and make Tokyo 2020 even more successful.

He told the Standard: "Today, we are rightfully giving our sporting heroes the celebration their incredible efforts deserve. It was hard to imagine how our Olympic and Paralympic stars could surpass the achievements of London 2012, but they delivered in spectacular fashion.

"Just like four years ago, we must use these successes to inspire us all to try out the sports we've so enjoyed from the comfort of our sofas, and inspire the next generation of athletes to follow in the footsteps of our Team GB heroes and make the next Olympics and Paralympics even more successful." Many of Britain's Olympic and Paralympic heroes took the train from Manchester to London this morning ahead of today's celebrations. Boxer Nicola Adams, who won flyweight gold in Rio, tweeted a picture of herself, fist clenched, on her way south, while Hollie Arnold held up her Rio Paralympic javelin gold in a selfie.

The 90-minute ceremony was due to get under way in Trafalgar Square at 1pm, with an appearance by the Household Cavalry.

The north terrace steps were turned into a giant stage for the athletes to be introduced to the crowd. …

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