Kids line up for Olympians' welcome home

Fans thrilled to see favourite Olympians

RACHEL YOUNG
Last updated 12:00 24/08/2012
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A moment's silence to remember the New Zealand soldiers who died in Afghanistan has started the Olympic welcome-home event.

Event MCs Jason Gunn and Dave Fitzgerald asked the crowd for a moment's silence in respect of Lance Corporal Jacinda Baker, Corporal Luke Tamatea and Private Richard Harris.

Canterbury's future Olympians lined up to meet their heroes at Pioneer Stadium in Spreydon.

The welcome-home event started at noon with 88 Kiwi Olympians, including 23 of the 27 medallists.

Levi Franks, 8, and mother Sally arrived at 10.15am to make sure they would get a glimpse of their favourite Olympians.

Levi, who hopes to represent New Zealand in athletics when he grows up, said he was excited to see the medals.

Sally Franks said she took her son along as it was a great chance for him to meet great athletes and be inspired.

Charlotte McDonald was "excited" to meet the equestrian team.

The 11-year-old, who wore her equestrian helmet, hopes to be an Olympian one day.

Her mum, Brigitte Mahan, let Charlotte have time off school for the event. "It's an awesome experience to be able to celebrate our athletes."

However, Cantabrians are not turning up in their thousands to support the Kiwi Olympians.

Event organisers expected Pioneer Stadium to fill up with people and set up a large screen outside to cater for the crowds.

Hundreds of people are outside the stadium, but the building, which fits about 800 people, is about one-third full.

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- The Press

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