THEY flew the flag for Yorkshire and proved they were among the world’s greatest athletes.
Now the sporting stars who did our county and country proud at Rio 2016 are looking forward to a hero’s welcome right here in Leeds.
A host of Yorkshire’s Olympic and Paralympic athletes have already added their names to the list of attendees taking part in the special ‘Rio Heroes’ homecoming parade on Wednesday, September 28.
They include diver Jack Laugher, who made history by winning Great Britain’s first ever diving gold medal, and World, European and Paralympic champion Hannah Cockroft MBE, who won gold in the Rio T34 100m final.
Hannah, who is from Halifax and trains in Leeds, said: “The buzz here in Rio is incredible as I prepare to compete in my remaining races, I’ve been overwhelmed by the number of goodwill messages from fans back home.
“I’m so proud to be bringing back my 100m Gold medal for Yorkshire and hopefully a couple more, I can’t wait to be part of the homecoming parade!”
Others confirmed to attend are rowers Andy Triggs Hodge and Paul Bennett, who both claimed gold; Cycling Pilot gold medallist Adam Duggleby, and triathletes Alistair and Jonny Brownlee, who earned gold and silver respectively.
They will be joined by rowing silver medallist Zoe Lee; bronze medal gymnast Nile Wilson; Vicky Holland, who won bronze in the triathlon, and swimmer Jonathan Booth.
City council leader Judith Blake said there was already a real buzz of excitement around the parade.
“It is great news to see so many of our amazing athletes already confirm their appearance,” she said.
“The Yorkshire public are never shy in offering their support to sports people from the region, and this parade is a fantastic opportunity to line the streets of Leeds city centre and give our Rio heroes a welcome home reception to remember.”
Yorkshire athletes contributed five gold medals, five silver and four bronze towards the total of 67 medals brought home by Team GB.
All eyes are now on the region’s athletes as they continue to compete in the Paralympics.
The event is being organised in partnership with Welcome to Yorkshire and other councils in the region.
Welcome to Yorkshire chief executive Sir Gary Verity said: “The response from our Yorkshire-based Olympians has been tremendous and this promises to be an unforgettable event to go down in history.
“We know the good people of Yorkshire will turn out in their thousands to cheer our heroes on and we’re looking forward to announcing the route very shortly.”
Details of the parade route are due to be announced shortly.