1. ITV Report

Heroes' welcome for Welsh Olympians and Paralympians

Welsh Olympic and Paralympic athletes will be honoured for their achievements in a ceremony held in the Senedd Photo: ITN

Welsh stars of the Olympics and Paralympics will be given a heroes' welcome later as Wales thanks them for their achievements after a fantastic summer of sport.

A special event will be held at the Senedd in Cardiff Bay this afternoon to honour the achievements of the Welsh athletes at the London 2012 Games.

Welsh athletes secured a total of 22 medals, with 7 of those won in the Olympics and 15 in the Paralympics.

The first medal for Wales was a silver for Chris Bartley in the men's Lightweight Fours and from there the medal tally just kept rising.

Speaking ahead of this afternoon's ceremony, First Minister Carwyn Jones urged the Welsh public to join in this afternoon's celebrations and show how proud the nation is of its athletes.

Inspirational, heroic, awe-inspiring – just some of the words that can be used to describe what our Olympians and Paralympians have achieved this summer.

“We have seen superhuman feats on the sporting field, moments of achievement that will stay with all of us for the rest of our lives.

After all the effort, preparation and dedication our sportsmen and women have put in to make it to the London Games, today is the time to thank them, to show how much we appreciate what they have achieved and the lift they have given to the nation.

They rightly deserve to be called our greatest team.

– First Minister Carwyn Jones

The slogan of the London 2012 Games was 'Inspire a generation', and the success of Welsh athletes and Team GB as a whole has already resulted in a noticeable increase in numbers at sports clubs across the country.

ITV Wales has learnt that some clubs have experienced as much as a 50% increase in the number of people coming through its doors.

I have been very proud and honoured to see our athletes perform at both the Olympics and Paralympics, and they have done Wales and Great Britain proud. They have realised their dream of competing at London 2012 and played such in role in taking the public enthusiasm for sport to a whole new level.

The success of our Paralympians and Olympians means they will deservedly bask in the glow of adulation that will come from the public and politicians alike at the Senedd. They can be doubly proud of not only their own stellar achievements, but also to consider themselves part of an unashamedly ambitious Welsh system that will keep building on their successes for many years to come.

I would encourage as many of the Welsh public as possible to show their support for these sporting heroes, who have showcased their talent in front of the world this summer, and show how much we all value sporting success.

– Chair of Sport Wales, Professor Laura McAllister

I am delighted that the nation is able to celebrate the success of our Paralympians at the Homecoming in the Senedd. These athletes have been incredibly dedicated for the past four years and now is their chance to shine and receive the recognition they so thoroughly deserve.

I must pay credit to the all the coaches and support staff involved with these athletes - they do an incredible amount of work behind the scenes identifying and unlocking potential, they are invaluable to our organisation.

Our aim is now to build on the momentum from London, continuing to identify and nurture new talent through the DSW Academy, going forward to the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games and Rio 2016.

– Executive Director Disability Sport Wales, Jon Morgan

From 4:30pm members of the Cultural Olympiad will perform outside the Senedd in Cardiff Bay to entertain the crowds.

This will be followed by an athletes parade onto the steps of the building where they will be greeted by First Minister Carwyn Jones and the Assembly's Presiding Officer, Rosemary Butler.

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