Lord Provost backs Edinburgh Olympic bus parade

Judoka Sarah Clark during the 2012 parade through Edinburgh. Picture: Ian Georgeson

Judoka Sarah Clark during the 2012 parade through Edinburgh. Picture: Ian Georgeson

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THE Lord Provost has thrown his weight behind calls for an Olympic homecoming bus parade in the Capital.

Councillor Donald Wilson has intervened in the row over whether a full public event should take place to celebrate the achievement of Scotland’s Olympians after their success at the Rio Games.

Plans were announced last week for an Olympic and Paralympic celebration at Oriam, Scotland’s national sports performance centre, which is based at Heriot-Watt University.

But the proposal sparked anger after it emerged that the event would be limited to the centre’s sports hall.

Now pressure is building on sportscotland bosses to open up the celebration after Cllr Wilson presented an emergency motion urging them to work with the council and organise a “public show of appreciation”, such as a bus parade.

His motion has been backed unanimously by councillors.

Cllr Wilson said: “I am delighted my push for a public celebration has had unanimous support in full council.

“There is a feeling in the city that our Olympians deserve as big a celebration as we are able to provide.

“Sportscotland has a fantastic homecoming event planned for Scotland’s athletes.

“I hope we can identify a way to extend the celebrations to include a public celebration in the streets of the city.”

An open-top parade would echo similar events that were held after the 2008 and 2012 Games in Beijing and London respectively. These featured stars such as gold medal-winning cyclist Sir Chris Hoy.

Allan Wells, the Edinburgh-born sprinter who won gold in the 100 metres at the 1980 Moscow Games, welcomed news of the council’s backing.

He said: “I would agree with the Lord Provost. I think a bus parade would allow the athletes to thank the people for their support and vice versa, for the public to thank them for their commitment and achievements.”

A sportscotland spokesman said: “There will be a terrific homecoming celebration for Scotland’s Olympians and Paralympians on September 28 which brings together athletes with children and young people from across Scotland as well as from local clubs and members of the public.

“They will have incredible access to the athletes and be able to enjoy enhanced interactivity with our Rio heroes in Scotland’s new national performance centre, Oriam. As ever, we remain in dialogue with our partners regarding the homecoming celebrations.”