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Edinburgh residents, workers, school kids and students gave athletes a welcome home to remember in Festival Square.

Waving #celebratethegreat banners and cheering for their heroes, crowds had the opportunity to grab autographs and photos with Scots from TeamGB and ParalympicsGB.

The Festival Square event was attended by the Depute Lord Provost, SportScotland Chair and hosts Bryan Burnett and Rhona McLeod, who invited the athletes up on stage before they mingled with the crowds who had gathered.  A big screen beamed footage of the athletes as they notched up medal after medal in Rio. 

The public event was part of a day of celebrations, which included the First Minister and more than 100 schoolchildren at a celebration at Oriam, Scotland's Sports Performance Centre which opened in August.

Group athlete selfie

Depute Lord Provost Steve Cardownie said: “The event in Festival Square honoured the phenomenal achievements of our Scottish Olympians and Paralympians this summer.

“Edinburgh is extremely fortunate to have so many athletes all in the city on the same day so this really is a unique opportunity for the public to mingle with their heroes and meet them face to face. Today’s events demonstrated the city and country’s pride in what these athletes have achieved.”

Mel Young, Chair of sportscotland, hailed the success of the athletes in Rio: “This was an inspirational day recognising the sensational performances of all of the Scottish athletes at this summer's Olympics and Paralympics.

“We know that many of the athletes being celebrated today were inspired by seeing their own sporting heroes compete at previous Games.

"By giving the next generation the opportunity to meet their heroes at events like this, and letting them hear what it takes to succeed on the world stage, we hope it will ignite their own sporting passion and lead to a life-long love of sport.”

Tim Hollingsworth, CEO of the British Paralympic Association, said: “It was wonderful to see the success of our Scottish Paralympians, who created so many memorable moments at Rio 2016, celebrated on home soil in Edinburgh today.

"It proved to be a fitting opportunity to celebrate their achievements in a way that also recognises and gives thanks to everyone that has supported these ParalympicsGB athletes to succeed at the highest level.”

Mark England, Chef de Mission for Team GB, said: "We are incredibly proud of our Scottish athletes. They have yet again contributed significantly to the Team GB medal tally and the wider efforts of the nation. I am sure everyone in Scotland is thrilled with their performances and this celebration will be a fitting way to recognise the incredible achievements of our athletes."

The final event of the day of celebration is the inaugural Team Scotland Scottish Sports awards at the EICC where the athletes will take to the red carpet.

Paul Bush OBE, Chair, Commonwealth Games Scotland, said: “Team Scotland is delighted to have played its part in the recognition of the fantastic achievements of Scots on Team GB and ParalympicsGB and the presence of the athletes at the inaugural Team Scotland Scottish Sports Awards in the evening was a fitting finale to a wonderful day of celebrations.

“These Awards in their new format have been a resounding success as we celebrate what has been a truly outstanding year for Scottish sport. The phenomenal achievements of 2016 augur well as we look ahead to the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games in 18 months’ time, where many of these athletes will go for gold for Team Scotland.”

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