Around 6,000 people have attended an event in Trafalgar Square held to celebrate the efforts of Britain’s Olympians and Paralympians in Rio over the summer.
After the victory parade through Manchester on Monday, London mayor Sadiq Khan was on hand for Tuesday’s ‘Heroes Return’ event.
And he was joined by a string of Rio medal-winners, several of whom addressed the crowd from a large stage.
In Rio, Team GB became the first nation to increase its medal haul after hosting the event as they collected 67 medals – two more than their tally at London 2012 and their best-ever haul from on overseas Games.
And Paralympics GB then returned from Brazil with an phenomenal 147 medals, including 64 golds.
Adam Peaty led the British gold rush, smashing his own world record to win Great Britain’s first medal of the Games when he landed the men’s 100m breaststroke, and going on to bag a silver as a member of the 4x100m relay team.
He told the London crowd: “Swimming has had a rough spot these past four years.
“But thankfully we have a strong and hungry team who can inspire millions of kids around the world and that’s what it’s all about for us.
“Hopefully you can all go on and take some of that gold into your lives and that’s exactly why us Olympians and Paralympians do it.
“Hopefully we can continue to make you proud, because there’s nothing like winning gold for you guys.”
Dual gold medallist Kadeena Cox was one of the many stars of the Paralympics team, and was the flag bearer at the closing ceremony after setting world records on the track and the bike as she became the first Brit in 28 years to win medals in two sports at one Games.
“Everyone performed so well, it was our biggest medal-haul,” said Cox. “You can’t pick a stand-out performance because everyone did so well, so to be able to stand out there and be the flag bearer was an honour.
“It’s tricky doing two events because you are using the same muscles in different ways, but I used to just cycle around the Olympic track. I’m not sure if that was allowed!
“It’s awesome to see these people, I didn’t expect it at all.”
Mayor of London Khan paid tribute to the athletes for their history-making efforts, saying: “We are now a sporting super power.
“This takes a lot of natural talent, hard work, dedication and courage, but I want to say thank you to the families of our superheroes.
“Thank you to the amazing coaches who gave up so much of their time in the clubs around the country, thank you to the National Lottery.
“TeamGB and ParalympicsGB, you inspire us, you inspire people who are not ordinarily involved in sports, and you are inspiring the next generation. Thank you so much for the memories.”
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