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Melbourne welcomes home Olympic athletes
By Genevieve Gannon
20:01 AEST Wed Aug 22 2012

In London, Australian cycling star Anna Meares had to endure a British crowd roaring its support for her archrival, Victoria Pendleton.

But back home in Melbourne, the cheers at the welcome home parade were for the Aussie gold medallist who triumphed over Pendleton in the women's sprint, breaking British hearts.

"There were 6000 people in the stadium that night, I think about 5900 were going for Victoria," Meares told supporters in Melbourne on Wednesday.

"The decibel measurement was 114 and a jet plane is 120."

Meares, who also picked up a bronze medal, was in Melbourne with about 70 other Olympic athletes as part of the official welcome home event.

Gold medallist Sally Pearson said seeing the smiling faces of the fans really drove home how significant the Olympics were.

"It's something you get to show that you've done," the hurdle champion gushed to the crowd at Federation Square.

"It can be on paper and it can be on the scoreboard but this just shows you how special it is."

Meares and Pearson bickered over which of them was the other's good luck charm.

Both athletes won gold on the same night in London four years after they both collected silver in Beijing.

"I think she's a bit of my good luck ju-ju," Meares said of Pearson.

"I don't think I'm your lucky charm because you always win first," Pearson retorted.

The hundreds of supporters, many in blue wigs and waving Australian flags, were a small part of the crew Victorian Premier Ted Baillieu dubbed the awesome four million-some; the Australians who had cheered on the Olympic athletes from huddles on couches and from underneath doonas.

"We're in awe of those whose dreams have come true," he told the athletes.

Mr Baillieu accepted a T-shirt signed by the Olympic athletes from rower Drew Ginn, who the premier said had cemented his position as one of Australia's greatest athletes.

When asked if he would consider competing in Rio, which would be his fifth Olympic Games, the rower joked he could always go as a spectator.

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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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