Thousands due to line streets for 10 September Olympics parade
Chance for public to salute Jessica Ennis, Bradley Wiggins, Mo Farah and Co – and vice versa
MAKE a note of the date: Monday, 10 September. That's the day of 'Our Greatest Team Parade', when Britain's Olympians and Paralympians will take to the streets of the capital to celebrate their exploits in the London 2012 Games.
The parade is a joint venture, featuring the London Mayor's office alongside the British Olympic Association and the British Paralympic Association.
"This is a chance to celebrate the heroes and heroines who have thrilled us with their skills, sportsmanship and grace during London's spectacular Olympic and Paralympic Games, and whose names and triumphs will live on for centuries to come," said London Mayor Boris Johnson, clearly excited at the prospect.
"In the ancient world crowds would line the streets to welcome their triumphant Olympians home, where they would be ecstatically venerated and their victories chronicled for the ages, with names like Leonidas of Rhodes and Milo of Kroton reverberating through history."
On this occasion it will be the likes of Jess, Wiggo and Mo receiving the adulation - heptathlete Jessica Ennis, cyclist Bradley Wiggins and distance runner Mo Farah being just three of Team GB's 29 gold medal winners scheduled to take part in the celebration.
The parade will depart from Mansion House at 1.30pm with 21 floats and 800 athletes organised by sports in alphabetical order.
More than a million people are expected to line the streets of the capital as the parade travels along Cannon Street, past St Paul's Cathedral, into Fleet Street, through Aldwych and The Strand, before reaching Trafalgar Square. A giant screen will be installed at the foot of Nelson's Column to allow spectators to follow the parade as it approaches the Square.
From there the parade will pass through Admiralty Arch into The Mall and down to the Queen Victoria Memorial. The organisers say that this area, from the Arch to the Memorial, will be reserved exclusively for the volunteers and members of the Armed Forces who made "an invaluable contribution" to the Games.
One of Team GB's gold medal winners, cyclist Laura Trott, told The Daily Telegraph the parade wouldn't just be an opportunity for fans to honour the athletes, but also "a chance for all of Team GB to say a huge 'thank you' to everybody out there who has supported us and to thank the people who made the Games possible".
The Telegraph says that some members of the Royal Family will be involved in the parade, although the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh are not expected to be among the revellers. In addition Prime Minister David Cameron will host a reception for all Britain's Olympians and Paralympians on a day Laura Trott hopes will be "a great party atmosphere".
The crowds expected on the streets of London are thought likely to exceed those of 2005 when the England cricket team paraded through the capital after winning the Ashes from Australia. On that occasion the cricketers ended the day at 10 Downing Street where Andrew Flintoff allegedly threw up in the toilet and relieved himself in the garden.
Britain's Olympians will surely act with greater decorum. Perhaps conveniently, Prince Harry has a prior engagement.