Edinburgh gets ready to welcome Olympians back home

Lothian Buses workers put the finishing touches on the Golden Bus. Picture Neil Hanna
Lothian Buses workers put the finishing touches on the Golden Bus. Picture Neil Hanna
7
Have your say

CAPITAL Olympians are limbering up for a heroes’ welcome tomorrow when tens of thousands of fans are expected to line the city streets to celebrate their golden achievements at London 2012.

For Sir Chris Hoy, the occasion will be particularly poignant with the open-top bus tour a prelude to a civic ceremony later in the day, where he will receive the city’s ultimate honour – the Freedom of Edinburgh.

Speaking at a packed celebration parade in Glasgow on Friday, Britain’s greatest Olympian said: “It’s amazing to be able to come back here and get the support and thank the crowds for all their support.

“It’s been a huge few weeks for British sport, and to see so many Scottish athletes taking part in that success is fantastic. It’s lovely being back up in Scotland again even though it’s a flying visit to see a lot of people enjoying the celebrations.”

He also tweeted: “And of course I’m very excited about Sunday’s parade and reception in my hometown, big weekend ahead!”

The double-gold 2012 
winning athlete will enjoy panoramic views of the huge crowds expected to throng the Capital, joined by Olympians and Paralympians on the open-top bus.

One of the many athletes guaranteed to drink in the unique atmosphere will be Prestonpans boxing sensation Josh Taylor who missed the excitement of the London opening ceremony because of his hectic fight schedule in the first few days of the Games.

Under doctor’s orders, the 21-year-old from Lochend Boxing Club also sat out Friday’s official homecoming party in Glasgow with a chest infection.

He said: “I was watching the opening ceremony on the TV in the athletes’ village and was not too bothered to miss it until I saw the Arctic Monkeys come on stage. But I’m really looking forward to the whole experience in Edinburgh and I cannot wait. It will be a really proud moment for me sitting on the open-top bus going down Princes Street.”

Judo star Euan Burton, 33, who competed in the Beijing and London Olympics, said he was looking forward to picking out familiar faces from the Edinburgh crowd.

“It’ll be nice to be able to have my friends and family come along to the Edinburgh parade. It is an exciting time,” he said.

“My mum and dad will be going. I don’t think I’ve told my gran that it is happening yet, but she might well be there.

“Edinburgh is a capital city but it’s not a huge city so I think no matter who is there, you will recognise faces in the crowd. This is something that didn’t happen as much in London because there were so many people there.”

The Olympic parade is due to leave City Chambers at 2pm tomorrow travelling up the Royal Mile and turning right onto the Mound. It will make its way down the hill before crossing Princes Street onto Hanover Street and turn onto George Street. Sir Chris and other athletes will enter the Assembly Rooms for the Freedom of the City ceremony at 3pm.

david.mccann@edinburghnews.com