You’ll do us proud – that was the message from Leeds today to the city’s golden boys and girls at the start of the Rio Olympics.
Sporting stars such as Nicola Adams and the Brownlee brothers will be flying the flag for Yorkshire’s unofficial capital in South America over the next three weeks.
They are aiming to repeat the remarkable successes of 2012’s London Olympics, when local athletes helped Team GB clock up more than 50 medals.
And today civic leaders told the class of 2016 they could be assured of support from people right across Leeds.
Leeds City Council leader Coun Judith Blake said: “We’re incredibly proud that once again Leeds has such a strong presence at the Olympics, which will make the Games all the more exciting for us cheering on the athletes from home.
“Competitors from Leeds have always been full of praise for the tremendous support they receive from their home city and I’m sure the Rio Games will be no exception.”
Sir Gary Verity, chief executive of Welcome to Yorkshire, said: “Yorkshire’s success at the London 2012 Olympic Games was absolutely phenomenal – had the county been a standalone country, it would have finished 12th in the medal table.
“The grit, hard work and determination of our athletes, combined with Yorkshire’s outstanding sporting facilities and diverse landscape, is a recipe for success and we wish them all the very best of luck in Rio.”
Yorkshire Evening Post readers posting supportive messages on social media included Billy Kane, who wrote: “Good luck to you – wear your heart on your sleeves, our wonderful city is proud of you all.”
Boxing champ Nicola Adams’ mum, Dee, told the YEP that her daughter and the rest of the Leeds contingent would definitely be buoyed by their White Rose fan club.
She added: “I’m hoping all of the local athletes do just as well as they did in London.
“We were like a little country, weren’t we? Never mind Team GB, it should have been Team Yorkshire!”
Pudsey gymnast Nile Wilson has posted a video on Twitter thanking everyone back home for their good wishes, adding: “We are going to do you proud.”
A total of 29 athletes with Leeds connections are competing in Rio.