Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

Sir Chris Hoy honoured in Edinburgh Olympians bus tour

Sir Chris Hoy
Image caption Sir Chris Hoy won two Olympic Gold medals at the London Games

Sir Chris Hoy will be awarded the freedom of Edinburgh later this month when thousands are expected for an event to welcome back the city's Olympic and Paralympic stars.

The cyclist will receive the honour after joining other sportsmen and women on an open-top bus tour through the city centre on Sunday 16 September.

The bus leaves from the City Chambers, going up the Royal Mile onto the Mound.

Sir Chris will then attend a private ceremony at the Assembly Rooms.

The event will celebrate Olympians and Paralympians who have a connection to Edinburgh.

The open-top bus will set off at 14:15.

It will make its way slowly down The Mound, past the giant symbol of the Paralympic Games and cross Princes Street on to Hanover Street where a post-box painted gold in Sir Chris's honour stands, officials said.

The final leg of the journey sees the bus turning right on to George Street, performing a short loop, before heading west along the street.

Hoy, who has six Olympic gold medals - two from London 2012 - making him Britain's greatest Olympian, will then be given the freedom of the city during a private ceremony at the Assembly Rooms at about 15:00, watched by 500 invited guests.

The Freedom of Edinburgh award is only held by the Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh, Sir Sean Connery, Nelson Mandela and Burmese democracy campaigner Aung San Suu Kyi.

It will be followed by a civic reception, hosted by the Lord Provost in honour of the athletes, their coaches and support staff, as well as London 2012 officials and volunteers.

Outstanding achievements

Edinburgh City Council said thousands of people are expected to line the streets to welcome the athletes home.

Some will be able to meet their sporting heroes during walkabouts planned for the beginning and end of the parade, officials said.

Lord Provost Donald Wilson said: "This is Edinburgh's chance to welcome home its Olympic and Paralympic heroes and to honour their outstanding achievements at their respective Games.

"Of course, there will be an extra special welcome for Britain's greatest-ever Olympian, our own Chris Hoy, to whom it will be a great pleasure to award the freedom of the city of Edinburgh.

"It was very much his wish that this day be about celebrating with his teammates and I am hopeful that many of his fellow sportsmen and women will be able to join him on the parade and in the Assembly Rooms."

Edinburgh city councillors unanimously voted last month to give the honour to Sir Chris.

It is granted to people who have distinguished themselves through their work or efforts, or to recognise the respect and high esteem in which they are held by the people of the city.

The cyclist has already been presented with the Edinburgh Award which honours outstanding individuals who have made a positive impact on the city. It was given to him in 2009.

The official victory parade for Scotland's Olympic heroes will be held on Friday 14 September in Glasgow, the host city for the 2014 Commonwealth Games.

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