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Sydney crowds welcome home Olympians
By Lema Samandar
16:10 AEST Mon Aug 20 2012

Australia's Olympic athletes have been received as heroes as they took to the streets of central Sydney for their first official welcome home parade.

More than 100 Olympians walked from Circular Quay to Town Hall on Monday afternoon.

Thousands of fans lined George Street to meet the athletes, have their photo taken with them and get a chance to touch their medals.

Balloons, kangaroo mascots and a marching band accompanied the athletes as green and gold confetti poured down from overhead office buildings.

It was the third Olympic parade for gold medal winning track cyclist Anna Meares.

"This is always a fun part of being an Olympian - coming home," Meares told AAP during the parade.

"The kids are just screaming, most of them want autographs and photos and (to say) congratulations."

Sailing gold medallist and closing ceremony flag bearer Malcolm Page said he enjoyed walking in the parade in his home town.

"One of the highlights for me in these parades is actually seeing all the kids and giving them a high five," Page said, adding that his two nephews had taken the day off school to come and see him.

Silver and bronze medallist, swimmer James Magnussen, said despite not winning the gold he had hoped for, his achievements had meant a lot to his fans.

"While the media might have given me a bit of a hammering it's important to know the people that matter are still behind me," Magnussen said.

"If I can see some fans and put some smiles on faces that will make my day."

Among the crowd was Kerrie Stevenson, who came to the city from the eastern suburbs to cheer the athletes home.

"The media was very harsh on the athletes," Ms Stevenson said.

"Every single person that got to the Olympics did their best."

The Olympians were welcomed at Town Hall by NSW Premier Barry O'Farrell and Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore.

"Much has been said about the money that goes in to preparing athletes for games like the Olympic Games," Mr O'Farrell said.

"Too little is said about the sacrifice of athletes, their families, their friends as they prepare to compete and to do us proud as a nation."

The ceremony was capped off with pop singer Jessica Mauboy singing the national anthem.

Welcome home parades will also take place in Melbourne, Adelaide, Brisbane, Hobart, Perth and Canberra over the next seven days.

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Opening Ceremony
Archery
Athletics
Badminton
Basketball
Beach Volleyball
Boxing
BMX
Cycling
Diving
Equestrian
Fencing
Football
Gymnastics
Handball
Hockey
Judo
Modern Pentathlon
Rowing/Canoe/Kayak
Sailing
Shooting
Swimming
Synchro
Table Tennis
Taekwondo
Tennis
Triathlon
Volleyball
Water Polo
Weightlifting
Wrestling
Closing ceremony
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