Team GB athletes have been given an official homecoming – and a chance to show off their medals – with a star-studded concert at Wembley.
Olympic champions including Tom Daley and diving partner Matty Lee, gymnast Max Whitlock and cyclists Jason and Laura Kenny were entertained by musicians including Nile Rodgers, Laura Mvula and Anne-Marie.
It was the first time the Tokyo 2020 athletes had a chance to celebrate together, as coronavirus restrictions meant they had to fly home within two days of competing.
Laura Kenny, GB’s most successful female athlete who won the madison event with Katie Archibald, said: “It’s actually really nice to be home. When you’re out there, you’re in such a little bubble that you don’t really know what the feeling is [going to be] when you get back.”
To come back to such a homecoming was “an incredible buzz”, she said.
Her husband Jason said: “The biggest difficulty is coming out of Olympic preparation and that bubble where everything is sorted – then all of a sudden, you get home and and you have to think about ‘what are we going to have for tea?'”
He said it had felt like “a long time away from everyone, especially from our little boy, so it was really special to come home and be reunited”.
Charlotte Worthington, who won gold in BMX freestyle park, said she hoped her success would help inspire a new generation.
She said people had come up to her telling her their children were keen to take up the sport, adding: “People want BMXs for Christmas now – so I really hope they’re inspired.”
Weightlifter Emily Campbell, who won a silver medal, said she was also “really happy” about for “what I might have done for weightlifting in the future”.
And she said that she had been recognised in public more now, with someone calling out: “there’s a celebrity in Morrisons!” when she was doing her groceries.
Whitlock said it was “amazing to be back” and that he felt “massively grateful” to be at the event.
He has been enjoying spending time with his family – including daughter Willow who has already started going to gym classes herself. He said he wanted her to try “lots of different sports so she can pick what she wants to do”.
Rower Helen Glover said being back home, it “kind of feels like it never happened”.
“It was a big reality check going home and being mum again – but it’s really nice to feel that normality,” she said.
There was an audience of 8,000 at the event, including athletes’ relatives and key workers as well as National Lottery players who had won tickets.
News Source: BBC News