A hero’s welcome: University at the heart of Rio 2016 parade


Clockwise from top left: student volunteers, gold medallists and MMU Sport Scholars Helen Scott and Kadeena Cox, the parade in full flow, and multimedia journalism student James Power live tweets from the parade

MORE than 150,000 people welcomed the Olympic and Paralympic heroes to the city yesterday with Manchester Metropolitan at the heart of the celebrations.

The University’s Paralympic athletes shared their gold medal success as they paraded around Manchester to the delight of well-wishers who lined the streets for the Heroes Parade.

Among them were gold medallists Kadeena Cox and Helen Scott who are now looking forward to their studies at Manchester Metropolitan following the Rio games.

While students were on hand to capture the day and lend support to the high-profile event that featured a host of Team GB and ParalympicsGB stars.


jlp_4734More than 50 student volunteers worked behind the scenes (pictured left) to ensure the parade worked its way seamlessly around the city, helping with the floats, athlete support and sponsor support.

Student journalists scoured the event to capture the parade on their live Northern Quota blog and Twitter.

Team GB and ParalympicsGB squads finished runners-up in their respective medals tables. Team GB had the most successful Olympic Games since 1908 with 67 medals brought home, 27 of them gold. The Paralympics GB squad secured 147 medals, including 64 golds.

Despite the inclement weather, spirits remained high as 280 GB athletes celebrated their success culminating in a show-stopping presentation in front of Manchester Town Hall.


Athletes included heptathlete Jessica Ennis-Hill, triathletes Alistair and Jonny Brownlee, gymnast Max Whitlock and cyclist Dame Sarah Storey who were welcomed by the Prime Minister Theresa May.

It was a particularly proud moment for the University as it celebrated its athletes from the games.

Sport Scholar Kadeena Cox made her Paralympic debut this year and achieved four medals across two sports – cycling and athletics – later

Image courtesy of the Museum of Science and Industry

becoming the flag bearer for the closing ceremony.

The Physiotherapy student (pictured) is the first Briton in 28 years to win medals in two sports at one Games and the first in 32 years to secure golds in two sports at the same Paralympics.

Medal haul

Her wins came in the velodrome in the cycling time trial and on the athletics track in the Maracana Stadium in the 400m – and she set new world records in both events. Kadeena also claimed a bronze medal in the individual 100m on the track and a silver in 4x100m relay.

She said: “I still haven’t come to terms with it, it still all feels very surreal.

“I can’t wait to get back properly and actually study. I’m looking forward to get back involved with the University side of things but I feel my brain is just filled with cycling splits and athletics times!”

Sport scholar Helen Scott also saw success at the Paralympics. The BSc Sport and Exercise Science student acts as tandem pilot to the visually impaired cyclist Sophie Thornhill.

Record breakers

The pair won gold in the Women’s B kilo after clocking in at 1 minute 06.283 seconds – breaking the Paralympic record set moments before. They went on to add to the gold medal with a bronze medal in the 3000m individual pursuit.

You can read Helen’s MMU Sport blog on how it feels to be a Paralympic champion.

Dame Sarah Storey won two Paralympic cycling golds to take her career gold medal total across swimming and cycling to 14, a record for a female GB Paralympic athlete. The University supports Dame Sarah’s training at its sport science laboratories on the Cheshire campus.

Olympian Holly Bradshaw vaulted her way to fifth place in Rio. The British record holder is continuing her BSc in Sport Exercise and Science through the University’s distance-learning offering.

Learn about our Sport Scholar programme, journalism courses and Rio 2016 successes.