YOU’LL do us proud – that was today’s message to Yorkshire’s Olympic Games heroes as the greatest sporting show on earth finally got under way.
Dozens of athletes from the White Rose county are among more than 10,000 competitors who will be going for glory in London over the next 16 days.
And some familiar Tyke faces today wished Yorkshire’s 2012 contingent the best of luck in realising their medal dreams.
The Lord Mayor of Leeds, Coun Ann Castle, said: “I know that our athletes will do us proud and I am quietly confident that they will bring home some medals.
“I am sure that the people of Leeds are as excited about seeing them compete to the best of their abilities as I am, and I wish them every success at the greatest sporting event in the world.”
Leeds United manager Neil Warnock told the Yorkshire Evening Post: “The Olympics are always a fabulous sporting occasion but seeing them in this country will be particularly exciting. Here’s hoping the competitors from Leeds do themselves proud. I wish them all the luck in the world.”
Leeds Rhinos head coach Brian McDermott said: “On behalf of everyone [here], I would like to wish all our Olympians from Leeds the very best of luck for London 2012.
“They have dedicated their lives to reach this point and I am sure they will do the city and themselves proud when it matters most.”
Leeds Carnegie executive chairman Sir Ian McGeechan said: “Good luck to all our Olympians.
“The commitment, desire and passion to succeed at the very highest level is something that inspires everyone, young and old, and as a Leeds lad who has travelled the world involved in my own sport, I know that the support you get from home is something that always drives you on to attain your goals.”
Leeds-born Gabby Logan, one of the BBC’s Olympics presenters, said: “I hope everyone does themselves, their families, their county and Great Britain proud. There is a huge amount of goodwill out there for them.”
Rachel Reeves, Labour MP for Leeds West, said: “I’m going to be cheering on all our homegrown stars throughout the Games, especially those from Yorkshire. Good luck Team GB!”
Stuart Andrew, Conservative MP for Pudsey, said: “I’m hoping we can build on the huge success the athletes had in China [in the 2008 Olympics].
“I wish them all the very best of luck – they should be extremely proud.”
Mike Tomlinson, husband of the late cancer heroine and marathon-running fundraiser Jane Tomlinson said: “The dedication they have shown just getting to the Olympics is amazing. Best of luck to them.”
Leeds actress Gaynor Faye said: “All the best to those taking part – I’ll be cheering them on all the way.”
Matt Bowman, lead singer of Leeds indie rockers The Pigeon Detectives, said: “I’m a big fan of the Olympics and I’ll be shouting for our athletes, whether they’re cycling, diving, running or whatever.
“It would be great if they can bring some medals back home to Yorkshire.”
Top local medal hopes include Bramhope brothers and University of Leeds graduates Alistair and Jonny Brownlee, who will be competing in the triathlon on August 7.
Around 100 university staff and former students are due to be in London to cheer on the Brownlees.
Rob Wadsworth, head of sport at the university, said: “We are tremendously proud of all the students and alumni taking part in the Olympic Games.”
Boxer Nicola Adams and rower Debbie Flood are among the other Leeds-born stars tipped for success at the Games.
Leeds’s training facilities have also helped make it an adopted home for many athletes originally from other parts of the UK and the rest of the world.
They include walker Johanna Jackson, from Cleveland, and weightlifter Ali Jawad, from Lebanon, who both train at Leeds Metropolitan University.
The big screen in Millennium Square will be showing all the action from the Olympics between 9am and 11pm from now until the close of the Games.
Entry into a specially-created viewing arena will be free and seating will be provided for up to 300 people on a first come, first served basis.
Leeds City Council leisure centres are also running bargain offers for the Olympics.
They include £1 taster sessions for youngsters in sports such as swimming, diving, gymnastics and tennis.
The council’s executive member for leisure, Coun Adam Ogilvie, said: “In Leeds we are very proud to have world-class sport and leisure facilities, and it would be great to see them full to bursting in the weeks to come.”
For more details on the leisure offers, ring 0113 395 0001.