GB athletes are 'mesmerised' by turnout for victory parade through capital
FOR Derbyshire's Olympic swimmer Ross Davenport, parading around London in front of hundreds of thousands of people was almost overwhelming.
"It was incredible," he said. "It's the most people I've ever seen. You couldn't see the path, it was just full of people, dozens of people deep. Being part of the parade and the Olympics on home turf has been an amazing experience. It was mesmerising."
Ross, 28, was on float number 17 of 21 in "The Greatest Team Parade – they were in alphabetical order by sport. He said the crowd was going wild as each one rolled into view.
"There was a new wave of shouting and cheering and clapping every time another float went past them," he said.
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"I saw people standing on the top of telephone boxes, and bus shelters and I even saw someone with their own step ladders. People were leaning out of windows and hanging out of pubs.
"Everyone was desperate to get a clear view. It shows how much of an impact the Games and the Paralympic Games has had on the people of the UK.
"It's taken the country by storm. We did the parade four years ago, after the Beijing Olympics, but this took it to a whole new level.
"There were double, triple the number of people who lined the streets here in London. It's just incredible, it's so overwhelming."
Ellie Simmonds, the Paralympic swimming champion, was on Ross's float – and he thinks the biggest cheers were for her.
He said: "We got lots and lots of noise as we went past, but I think it was all for Ellie. She definitely raised the profile for our coach."
The Belper swimmer said one of the best images of the day was seeing the "Games Makers" lining the route.
He said: "The volunteers that came out in full force throughout the duration of the Games was incredible and seeing them all lining up together, enjoying the crowds, too, was incredible to see."
Derbyshire hockey player Georgie Twigg tweeted her amazement on social networking site Twitter.
She tweeted: "All on board our float! This is going to be amazing, so many people lining the streets. Thank you British public. Cannot believe how many people out here ... just wow!!"
Around 800 athletes took part in the parade, which passed crowds, dozens deep in places, and who became a sea of red, white and blue as they waved Union Flags.
After the Paralympics came to a close with a rousing ceremony on Sunday, the celebrations continued yesterday with a carnival-like atmosphere. Athletes and spectators were also treated to a spectacular flypast which roared over their heads.
RAF aircraft were led by the British Airways jet used to bring the Olympic flame to the UK at the start of the Games.
The flame-emlazoned aircraft displayed a "thank you" message on its underbelly before the Red Arrows followed, leaving a trail of red, white and blue smoke in their wake.
The stars of the Olympics' Super Saturday – Mo Farah, Jessica Ennis andGreg Rutherford – were in the first three floats with Team GB's cycling stars including Chris Hoy, Jason Kenny, Laura Trott and Victoria Pendleton on another.
When asked about the success of the Games, London 2012 chairman Lord Coe said: "I've never doubted it because the people that have helped us do this have been proud and passionate and it doesn't matter where they live, whether it's in northern Scotland or Cornwall, people have got this. We wouldn't doubt that they'd be out 10-deep today, they were out 10-deep after we came back from Beijing and that didn't even take place in our own back yard.
"I don't think we're ever going to see sport in this country in the same way again."