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Athletes fly home praising London

A journey through Heathrow airport - not always a happy experience - has been made near perfect for thousands of departing Olympic athletes.

And the athletes responded to the special arrangements at the west London airport by praising the London Games and the welcome they received.

With their medals hanging around their necks, the athletes checked in at a special Games terminal made up to resemble a London park.

At one end there was a mock-up London double-decker red bus.

There were plants, park benches and trees, including a tree on which athletes were invited to hang a message describing their best moment of the Games.

Admiring the elaborate make-up of the make-shift terminal, gold medal winner Chris Brown, of the Bahamas, said: "I have been tremendously well looked after here in London."

Brown, 33, who ran the first leg as the Bahamas won the men's 4x400 metres relay, had been competing in his fourth Olympics, having picked up silver in Beijing in 2008 and bronze at Sydney in 2000.

Proudly showing off his gold medal, he said: "These Games in London have been great. London has staged a fantastic Olympics. Everything has worked out well today and this special terminal is a bit of fun."

Kate Reisinger, the manager of the US women's hockey team, had less success than Brown but enjoyed London just as much. Her team came 12th and last in the hockey, but Ms Reisinger, flying home to Colorado Springs in Colorado, concentrated on the positive.

She said: "London has been so welcoming and everything has been so well organised. I have seen some of the tourist attractions in London and even found some nice, quiet places to relax in."

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