Glasgow to host parade for Scotland’s Olympic heroes
Published by Anne Marie Hughes on Thu 16 Aug 12 @ 10:16
Glasgow is to host a parade for Scotland's Olympic and Paralympic stars, it was announced yesterday, in a move that delighted and surprised the city.
Council leaders were asked if they could host the event just 24 hours before the Scottish Govern-ment made its announcement yesterday, but were kept in the dark about the final decision.
The news was greeted with joy in the city preparing to host the 2014 Commonwealth Games. Five medal winners were born in Glasgow - tennis star Andy Murray (gold and silver), rower Katherine Grainger (gold), swimmer Michael Jamieson (silver), and hockey players Emily Maguire and Laura Bartlett (bronze).
But there was disappointment in Edinburgh - the home of Britain's most decorated Olympian, Sir Chris Hoy.
Ministers - who faced pressure to unveil details of the celebrations - said the event will take place on September 14.
A procession of vehicles is expected to pass George Square in the city centre and some of the Commonwealth Games venues, giving fans a chance to cheerScotland's most successful group of Olympians.
It will be followed by a reception for athletes hosted jointly by First Minister Alex Salmond and Glasgow City Council. The Fruitmarket and the Kelvingrove Museum were tipped as possible venues.
The celebrations will be organised by national sports agency sportscotland and the Scottish Government, with support from the city council.
Announcing the plans, Sports Minister Shona Robison said: "We must recognise the achievements of those Scottish athletes who participated in the Olympics, as well as those who will be participating in the Paralympics later this month. We have played our part in these great Games, from hosting football matches at Hampden Park to the hundreds of volunteers who went to London to help out.
"As we celebrate these successes we must also look ahead to Glasgow 2014. I have great hopes for Scotland's athletes in the Commonwealth Games and I hope people will take inspiration from these medal winners."
It's understood sportscotland lobbied for Glasgow to host the celebrations, ahead of Stirling and Edinburgh.
Louise Martin, chairwoman of sportscotland, said: "Glasgow is a fitting location for this celebration as it was an Olympic city, is bidding for the YouthOlympic Games in 2018, and hosts Scotland's largest ever multi-sport event in 2014."
Andy Hunt, chief executive of the British Olympic Association, said: "Scottish athletes contributed 13 medals to Team GB and should be celebrated in style."
Glasgow City Council leader Gordon Matheson said: "Glasgow is the obvious place to host Scotland's celebrations for Team GB. I want children to be inspired by Team GB's success so it's only right we honour the achievement of our elite athletes."
However, the decision dismayed councillors in Edinburgh. Deputy council leader Steve Cardownie said a separate civic reception and parade may be organised in the capital.
He added: "You would expect a parade of Scottish athletes to be held in the capital city, but it's a matter for the Scottish Government to decide the venue.
"We are pressing ahead with our own plans, which would compliment the national one."
Edinburgh SNP councillor Sandy Howat said: "It is an understandable decision, with Glasgow hosting the Commonwealth Games in 2014, but it is painful forEdinburgh people."
Scottish Olympians - dubbed "Scolympians" by Alex Salmond - won a record haul of medals at London 2012, taking seven gold, four silver and two bronze.