Parade for Olympic heroes

JAMES Magnussen and his fellow Olympic and Paralympic athletes will be invited toparade through the streets in a special welcome home ceremony planned by council.
Nanjing Night Net

Port Macquarie-Hastings Council administrator Neil Porter yesterday revealed he had spoken to James Magnussen’s father, Robert, to discuss the swimmer’s part in the ceremony.

Olympic rower Tess Gerrand, paralympic wheelchair rugby player Ryley Batt and paralympic wheelchair tennis player Janel Manns will hopefully join the special celebration, he said.

A welcome home parade for paralympians Tom Kennedy, Paul Hyde and Brad Dubberley and games volunteers after the Sydney Olympics in 2000 was a huge success, Mr Porter added.

This year’s parade will similarly see athletes driven in open convertible cars along Horton Street toward Town Green.

Some CBD streets will be closed for the ceremony and it is likely to be held on a Saturday in late September, Mr Porter said.

The newly-elected mayor will officially welcome home the athletes.

“We’ll try and get a date that suits all of them,” Mr Porter said.

Hundreds of Hastings residents braved the cold to watch Magnussen – known as The Missile – win a silver medal at a live outdoor broadcast of the 100m freestyle final last Thursday.

“If 1000 people get out of bed at 4am I’m sure we’ll get a few thousand to welcome him home,” Mr Porter said.

Hastings rower Tess Gerrand qualified for the final of the women’s eight event and despite her failure to win a medal, many locals will be eager to cheer her efforts competing for Australia.

The London Paralympics begin later this month and wrap-up on September 9.

“I’m quite confident Ryley and Janel will go well, they might even have medals to show us on the day,” Mr Porter said.

“It’s a chance for everyone to welcome them back.”

The final arrangements for the parade will be made by the soon-to-be-elected mayor and councillors.

“I’ll certainly put the planning in place. but by that time the mayor will be able to welcome them back,” Mr Porter said.

Port Macquarie MP Leslie Williams watched the nail-biting 100m freestyle final when 21-year-old Magnussen won silver by just one 100th of a second behind the winner.

“James is a remarkable young man who has made himself, his family, his local community and his country extremely proud with his silver medal achievement at the Olympics,” Mrs Williams said.

Magnussen finished the Games with silver and bronze medals.

James Magnussen will be invited to take part in a welcome home parade in Port Macquarie.

Crowds gathered outside the Glasshouse to watch a live broadcast of James Magnussen’s 100m freestyle final last week.

Crowds gathered outside the Glasshouse to watch a live broadcast of James Magnussen’s 100m freestyle final last week.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.