Rio Heroes: Celebrating our Rio heroes at Leeds parade

Kadeena Cox.
Kadeena Cox.
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It was a homecoming parade fit to celebrate the stunning achievements of Yorkshire’s Olympic and Paralympic athletes.

The region’s champions from the Games in Rio were given a heroes’ welcome, as they toured Leeds city centre on open-top buses to deafening cheers from hordes of supporters on the streets.

A host of medal-clad stars took part in the celebration yesterday afternoon, including Leeds’s triathletes Alistair and Jonny Brownlee, golden girl Kadeena Cox and diver Jack Laugher.

Six buses, filled with athletes from across Yorkshire and their families, set off from Leeds Civic Hall before following a route around the heart of the city.

Fans and on-lookers hung out of windows, cheered on from rooftops and gathered on the Headrow, Briggate, Boar Lane and in City Square to show their appreciation of the athletes’s achievements.

Kerry Jeavons, 34, from Roundhay, said: “We’re really proud that there were so many athletes from Yorkshire, I think everyone is.

“Everyone is really jealous that we got to be here welcoming them home.”

Joanne Ainslie, 47, from Whitkirk, said: “It’s brilliant and it’s lovely to see it in the middle of Leeds city centre - and to celebrate it.

“It’s lovely that everyone gets together to celebrate what the athletes have done.”

Leeds gymnast Nile Wilson, Yorkshire rowers Andy Triggs Hodge, Tom Ransley and Paul Bennett, Calderdale’s wheelchair sprinter Hannah Cockroft and Leeds Paralympian David Stone also joined in the parade.

And dancers from the West Indian Carnival followed the buses with floats and music to add a Brazillian flavour to the celebration.

There were also performances from the Band of the King’s Division, West Yorkshire Police Band and Handmade Samba Band.

The parade comes after TeamGB secured an incredible record 67 medals at the Olympics in Rio - 14 of which were won by athletes from Yorkshire.

It also celebrated the success of the region’s Paralympic stars, who helped the nation’s squad reach a haul of 147 medals in Rio.

Tom Riordan, Leeds City Council chief executive, said: “We certainly know how to have a party in Yorkshire.

“It’s great that we have got such a fantastic set of athletes and it’s brilliant that so many people, young and old turned, out to celebrate that.”

The event was organised by the council, in partnership with Welcome to Yorkshire.

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