London to stage parade in honour of Beijing medallists

Click to follow
The Independent Online

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, announced yesterday that Great Britain's medal-winning Olympic heroes will be given a victory parade through the streets of London on Thursday, 16 October.

Victory for the men's cycling pursuit team led by Bradley Wiggins propelled Team GB yesterday to its biggest haul of Olympic gold medals since the Antwerp Games of 1920.

Britain has now won 12 golds, one more than the team managed in Sydney eight years ago and three more than in Athens in 2004 – with the prospect of more to come.

"Just over halfway through the Beijing Games and Team GB has put in one of its best ever performances," Mr Johnson said yesterday.

"In September our Paralympians will, I hope, return from Beijing having achieved similar success. So, to reflect the excitement and pride of the country in our athletes' superb victories ,we've set a date in the diary now when we can cheer all our heroes and honour their extraordinary feats at this summer's Games."

Simon Clegg, the chief executive of the British Olympic Authority (BOA), described the planned tour as a "fitting tribute to the outstanding achievements of the whole team".

The tour route, though yet to be confirmed, is likely to culminate in a mass celebration in Trafalgar Square, echoing the victorious Ashes parade three years ago. On Sunday, when the 2008 Games close, dozens of events in London and around the country will mark the handover of responsibility for the Olympics from Beijing to London.

A spokesman for Gordon Brown said: "The Prime Minister welcomes the decision to host a celebration parade for Team GB, so they can see how much support they have at home, and we are talking to the BOA about their plans for public celebrations and official government receptions."