Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 23 September 2014

Pictured: Triumphant Olympic and Paralympic athletes parade through London

LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 10: British Olympic gold medal winning Heptathlete Jessica Ennis holds her gold medal as she takes part in the parade passing Royal Courts of Justice during the London 2012 Victory Parade for Team GB and Paralympic GB athletes on September 10, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by David Davies - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
Boxer Nicola Adams holds her gold medal as she takes part in a parade through London, celebrating Britain's Olympic and Paralympic sporting heroes
LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 09: Chris Martin of Coldplay performs during the closing ceremony on day 11 of the London 2012 Paralympic Games at Olympic Stadium on September 9, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)

Britain's sporting heroes are saluted today as a huge precession snakes its way through the streets of London.

Olympic and Paralympic heroes will be celebrated at the end of a sparkling summer of British sport.

Last night the curtain came down on the Paralympic Games in a stunning closing ceremony.

And today the celebrations spill out onto the streets of the capital as tens of thousands are expected to turn out to watch The Greatest Team Parade.

Athletes will travel on 21 open-top floats, grouped in alphabetical order by their sport.

The stars of the Olympics' Super Saturday will be on the first three floats.

The first will include Mo Farah, the Olympic 5,000 and 10,000m winner, followed by heptathlon gold medallist Jessica Ennis, with long jump champion Greg Rutherford in the third float.

Team GB's cycling stars Sir Chris Hoy, Jason Kenny, Laura Trott and Victoria Pendleton will be in float seven, followed by double equestrian gold-medal winner Charlotte Dujardin, rowing champion Katherine Grainger, Ben Ainslie, Britain's most successful Olympic sailor, and triathlon gold medallist Alistair Brownlee.

Paralympians Hannah Cockcroft, Jody Cundy, Sophie Christiansen and Jonnie Peacock will also take part in the parade.

British Airways will lead a flypast with the Red Arrows during the event after receiving special permission to fly over The Mall.

The flame-coloured Firefly A319 aircraft, which was used to bring the Olympic Flame to the UK at the start of the Games, will display a special "thank you" message on its underbelly.

During its 20-minute journey, it will pass over the Olympic Park at 3.40pm before reaching The Mall a minute later.

London mayor Boris Johnson said: "This summer our great city has hosted an unbelievable spectacle of sport and thousands will want to celebrate the achievements of our athletes by coming to the parade.

"It promises to be an incredible afternoon but I do want to remind people coming that we expect the route to be extremely busy and planning ahead is absolutely crucial if they are going to be able to make the most of their day."

The parade will include more than 90% of Britain's medal winners.

Organisers have warned there will be extensive road closures around the route of the parade, which starts from Mansion House in the City at 1.30pm.

Members of the public will be able to watch the parade as it travels along Queen Victoria Street and Cannon Street, passing St Paul's Cathedral, continuing along Fleet Street, past Aldwych and into The Strand, before reaching Trafalgar Square.

A big screen at the base of Nelson's Column, with live commentary, will allow spectators to cheer on the athletes as the parade makes its way past Trafalgar Square, a Greater London Authority (GLA) spokesman said.

From Trafalgar Square, the athletes will go through Admiralty Arch into The Mall, travelling down to the Queen Victoria Memorial.

Most roads along the route will close at 11am, with those around Guildhall and Gresham Street in the City set to shut at 6am.

An area from Admiralty Arch to the Queen Victoria Memorial will be ticket-only and reserved for groups who had made "an invaluable contribution to the Games and the success of our athletes", the GLA said.

This will include 14,000 volunteers, members of the blue light services, military personnel, Team GB and ParalympicsGB coaches and support staff, friends and family of the athletes and schoolchildren from every London borough.

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