In the heat of Rio, Team GB’s Olympians and Paralympians did us proud, winning 214 medals over both games. We were thrilled to have all of these amazing athletes come to the museum, and only two days after we’d welcomed another British hero, astronaut Major Tim Peake. It was a great atmosphere, with everyone mingling, enjoying the museum, and seeing friends from other sports in Team GB.
Manchester holds a special place for many of the athletes, especially the cycling teams, whose home is the Manchester Velodrome, and the Paralympic swim team, who train at the Manchester Aquatics Centre on Oxford Road. Out of the cyclists, we spotted Joanna Rowsell-Shand from the Women’s Team Pursuit and Callum Skinner from the Men’s Team Sprint – both gold medal winners. There was also swimmers Ellie Simmonds, Ellie Robinson, and Dame Sarah Storey, who won her 14th gold at Rio, becoming the most successful British Paralympian of the modern era.
Other top sightings included triathlon gold and silver medalists the Brownlee brothers; Max Whitlock, who won Britain’s first ever gold in men’s gymnastics; Paralympian Kadeena Cox, who won medals for both athletics and cycling; gold winning boxer Nicola Adams; showjumping legend Nick Skelton; and the nation’s favourite, Jessica Ennis-Hill. We even had a visit from CBBC’s Hacker T. Dog!
The parade was a fantastic opportunity for people from across the North to celebrate the team’s successes and to keep a little bit of that Olympic fever going, despite the rain (it wouldn’t be Manchester without it!). For the athletes, it was a chance to see how much their hard work and dedication means to us, and to enjoy a bit of partying before they get back to that training.
Roll on Tokyo 2020!