Welsh sports fans defy the rain to hail heroes back from Beijing

The celebrations for Wales' homecoming Olympic heroes continued into a second day yesterday. In Cardiff, more than a thousand flag-waving fans defied persistent rain to welcome home their competitors. Nine athletes, including four medallists, were given an open-top bus tour through Cardiff Bay.

Draped in Welsh flags, the champion cyclists Nicole Cook, Geraint Thomas and Tom James showed off their medals to cheering crowds, before being given bouquets of golden-coloured flowers on the steps of the National Assembly's Senedd building.

Cooke, who grew up in Wick, in the Vale of Glamorgan, said she was still feeling exhilarated by her gold medal, which was Britain's first of the Games. "It still feels just as good as it did the moment I crossed the finish line," she said. "It's great to come back and share this with Welsh athletes... It helped me to know so many people were supporting me back in the village."

Meanwhile, in Wolverhampton, Jennifer Bolt, mother of world record-breaking Jamaican sprinter, Usain, stopped off to meet family on her way back from China. Mrs Bolt's cousin, Maureen Davis, hosted a gathering of family and friends in the Bradmore area of the city.

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