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Delighted of Tonbridge welcome Kelly home

The Olympic champion Kelly Holmes was greeted by cheering crowds as she paraded through her home town on an open-top bus yesterday. The 800m and 1500m gold medallist brought the centre of Tonbridge in Kent to a standstill as about 40,000 well-wishers lined the streets, waving Union flags.

Athens vindicated

The cynics were wrong. The Athens Olympics turned out to be every bit as exciting, as euphoric and as proficiently organised as the spoilsports said they would not be. Congratulations are due all round: to the Greeks who transformed their capital into an efficient and welcoming venue. To the participants, who - with a few glaring exceptions - competed in the true spirit of the Games. Above all to Britain's medal-winners, who exceeded the medal tally in Sydney and offered a new generation of athletes a galaxy of inspirational stars: step forward Kelly Holmes, Amir Khan, Matthew Pinsent, Bradley Wiggins. And if Britain can learn one lesson from Athens for its candidacy for 2012, it is that lowering expectations at the outset may not be such a bad tactic after all.

Hildenborough: Elation in Holmes' home village where 'nothing happens'

She may have been showered in gold and glory, but when Kelly Holmes slips away from the bright lights of Athens tonight she will return to a celebration at her local Beefeater pub.

Kelly Holmes: The extraordinary story of the army girl plagued by injury who never gave up on her dream

Her rivals know her only from her back, as she accelerates away from them and their legs refuse to respond. We are luckier; we've seen her victories from the front, and the thing we'll always remember about Kelly Holmes is her face: that mixture of smile and astonishment in her moments of achievement in Athens.

Olympic gains

Britain's medal roll of honour
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