Olympic golden couple Jason Kenny and Laura Trott back calls for parade to start later to allow kids to attend
Olympic golden couple Jason Kenny and Laura Trott have backed calls for the Manchester ‘Welcome Home’ parade to start late enough for children and families to attend.
The record-breaking cycling stars told the M.E.N how they ‘don’t want to be going round on the back of a bus if there’s no one out there to wave at’.
After we exclusively revealed on Friday that the celebration will be held on Monday, October 17, hundreds of readers posted comments on our Facebook page fearful that children would still be at school and therefore unable to attend.
Manchester City Council officials will meet with Downing Street bosses on Monday to finalise the parade details and city centre spokesman Pat Karney said they will ‘definitely take into account the attendance of families and children’.
Bolton-born Jason said they are excited to see Manchester host the national parade for our returning Olympic and Paralympic heroes and hopes the city can rival the success of the London 2012 celebrations.
He told the M.E.N: “It’s handy for us as we live nearby. It suits us down to the ground.
“The parades through London were all amazing. Hopefully we can see Manchester live up to that and do something special as well as it’s a really nice city. Hopefully it will be a nice day for it and they get to put on a good show.
“We don’t want to be going round on the back of a bus if there’s no one out there to wave at, otherwise it’s just a drive round Manchester. Obviously we want as many people there as possible and hopefully make it a nice big party.
“I think it would be a good thing (to have school children attend). We don’t want to distract anyone but you get a feel-good factor and good buzz off it and it picks everyone up and everyone can join in the success.
“If it can make everyone feel good and feel positive then that’s great and if it can inspire the younger generation as well then that’s an extra bonus.
“Manchester has become a real sporting centre for Britain with the national cycling centre here and a few of the other squads based up here and around Manchester.
“We spend all our career here so it’s nice. Hopefully it will be really well supported and I don’t see why it won’t be.”
The decision by Prime Minister Theresa May to stage the main parade in Manchester follows calls for the celebration to be held outside the capital to reflect the contribution made by athletes from across the UK.
Of the 67 Olympic medals won in Rio, 23 were achieved by Manchester-trained athletes - including many from the ‘medal factory’ National Cycling Centre in Clayton.
Jason and Laura, who are due to get wed, returned to the facility today for the Revolution Series and to meet their adoring fans.
Jason, 28, said: “It’s nice coming back. It’s like coming home. Obviously we know everyone that works here during the week and they are like your family because you see them that much.
“It’s amazing how it goes from being a really performance-driven place to being such a relaxed atmosphere after the Olympics, especially when it’s gone well and there is euphoria going around.”
Earlier this week it was announced how the couple are working on a joint autobiography which will be released on November 10.
Laura, who is now Britain’s most successful female Olympian with four gold medals, said: “We’ve been very busy. We announced our book coming out so we have been trying to get that started and written as quickly as possible.”
Jason, who has now surpassed Sir Bradley Wiggins and Sir Steve Redgrave’s medal tally and equalled Sir Chris Hoy’s record six golds, added: “That’s taken up a lot of time. We have been working hard.
“We’ve not really had the chance to get any downtime. We are trying to enjoy it and most of it’s quite nice.
“It’s not what we trained to do. We train to ride our bikes very fast. The publicity side is not something that comes naturally, particularly for me.
“We have got some more media commitments and things like that and then we will take ourselves away and have a bit of time to ourselves. It feels like we’ve not stopped since coming home.”