Fans turn out in their thousands to hail Chris Hoy and Olympic heroes
JUBILANT crowds cheered Edinburgh’s Olympic heroes through the city as thousands lined the streets for the capital’s victory parade.
An open topped buss carried beaming Olympic and Paralympic heroes through the city yesterday, as crowds braved drizzling rain and gloomy clouds to welcome the athletes home.
Hundreds of waving Union flags and Saltires lined the route as Sir Chris Hoy was taken to be given the freedom of the city.
The parade began at Edinburgh’s City Chambers on the Royal Mile, where crowds had gathered an hour before the athletes boarded a golden double-decker bus.
Sir Chris and the other athletes were played out of the building to the tune of Scotland the Brave by a full pipe band from Edinburgh’s Geroge Watson College.
Despite the rain, he and the other athletes, including Paralympic swimming legend Jim Anderson OBE, stopped to shake hands and sign autographs before boarding the bus.
Hoy was greeted with cheers and cries of “we love you Chris” as he made his way down the Royal Mile.
Sporting two of his six gold medals, Sir Chris joked to one fan: ”Shame about the sunshine!”
The parade snaked its way down The Mound before crossing Princes Street, before heading towards the Assembly Rooms venue on George Street.
There Sir Chris was later granted the freedom of the city in a special ceremony, as hundreds of fans packed George Street to catch a glimpse of the UK’s greatest Olympian.
Sir Chris joked on Twitter before the parade:”So many parades recently I’ve forgotten what it’s like to be on a bus with a roof! (copyright @JKCorden @league_official) ”
He was joined on the top deck of the bus by nine other athletes, including judo middleweight Euan Burton and slalom canoeist David Florence, who picked up silver in the 2012 Games.
Other Olympians on the bus included 800 meters runner Lynsey Sharp and Royal Marine Chris Sherrington, who competed in the 100kg+ class in judo from Team GB.
Olympic fans Jenny and Andy Pearson turned up early to get a good spot to see Sir Chris.
Jenny Pearson, 54, from Edinburgh, said: “We went to the Olympics, and it was absolutely fantastic, the folk were brilliant.
“I think this is a fitting tribute for the athletes.
“In particular we’re here to see Chris Hoy the boy! Though they’re all fab.”
Her husband Andy, 60, added: “It’s great to see them all.”
Cairi McKenzie, 30, from Southport said: “It’s a really great occasion.
“I think the achievements of the British team and in particular the Scottish athletes have done the country proud.
“It’s really good news in among a lot of bad news like the austerity.”
Raymond Fitzpatrick, who was selling Union, Saltire and lion rampant flags along the route, said spirites were high.
He said: “It’s super he’s getting the freedom of the city.
“He thoroughly deserves it, not just for this year, he’s been at the top of his sport for a number of years now.”
The Team GB parade is the city’s second huge celebration of sporting success.
Earlier this year tens of thousands lined the streets for Hearts’ Scottish Cup victory parade.
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