Welcome home! The parties for heroes of London 2012
After two weeks in which the nation has cheered and wept while watching Team GB amass a glittering Olympic medal haul, hundreds of thousands of people are expected to turn out on the streets of the athletes' home towns and cities to welcome them back.
Although the entire team of Olympians and Paralympians will parade in open-topped buses through London, many argue that rather than focus the main event in the capital, it should take place in Yorkshire. With six gold, two silver and three bronze – so far – the White Rose county now accounts for nearly a quarter of all GB podium finishes.
Yet Yorkshire's proud cities are vying between themselves to trumpet their own talent. Leeds will put on a choir to welcome home the Brownlee brothers, who took first and third in the triathlon. The first ever gold medal-winning female boxer, Nicola Adams, will get at a reception in Millennium Square. Sheffield will offer Jessica Ennis the freedom of the city.
Hull, meanwhile, will be laying on a party for boxer Luke Campbell who fights for gold tonight. In Scotland the rivalry between Edinburgh and Glasgow has flared over the honour of hosting Sir Chris Hoy. Edinburgh, his home town, is in danger of losing out to Glasgow, host of the 2014 Commonwealth Games, which has already named its new velodrome after the six-time gold medallist. Yet Sir Chris is also likely to be included in celebrations in Manchester, where the council has acceded to demands that our cycling stars be honoured in the city which is host to the National Cycling Centre and home for the majority of the team. In Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, there are plans to mark cyclist Ed Clancy's success with a golden fireworks display.
Local sensitivities have also been gently ruffled in Cornwall, where rower Helen Glover is to diplomatically parade in an open-topped bus through both Penzance and Newlyn, where her father's ice cream shop has been mobbed with well-wishers since her triumph.
It is a similar story in Flint, North Wales, where the butcher's shop where Jade Jones' mother works was at the centre of celebrations yesterday, as the town prepares to honour the Taekwondo Olympic champion.
Meanwhile, Henley will honour Team GB rowers with a row-past on the Thames. Twelve medallists come from the local Leander Club.
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