Rio Olympics 2016: Party-time for returning heroes

Lisa Carrington wins gold in the womens k1 200m at Lagoa Stadium, Olympic rowing. Photo / Photosport
Lisa Carrington wins gold in the womens k1 200m at Lagoa Stadium, Olympic rowing. Photo / Photosport

The bulk of New Zealand's medal-winning Olympians return home tomorrow - and there will be an opportunity to congratulate the stars.

About 170 members of the Olympic team, including more than 20 medal winners, are flying into Auckland early in the morning.

This includes double Olympic champion canoe sprinter Lisa Carrington, gold medal-winning rowers Hamish Bond, Eric Murray and Mahe Drysdale, gold medal-winning sailors Peter Burling and Blair Tuke, and the silver medal-winning women's sevens team.

The Olympians are expected to be in the Auckland International Airport arrival area by about 6am.

They will then head into the central city for the ANZ Welcome Home celebration at The Cloud on Queens Wharf from 9am to 10am.

Silver medal-winners Valerie Adams, Lydia Ko and Natalie Rooney, and bronze medal-winners Tom Walsh and Eliza McCartney, are not returning tomorrow.

Nor are most of the athletics and equestrian teams.

However, hometown celebrations for the medal-winners are expected to be in full swing when they return.

A street parade has already been organised for Burling and Tuke in Kerikeri on Friday afternoon.

The celebrations were already buzzing at yesterday's Olympic closing ceremony. Many competitors wore ponchos to protect them from constant rain which, accompanied by swirling winds, failed to dampen the enthusiasm of the athletes.

Gold medallists among the flag bearers included New Zealand's Carrington, United States gymnast Simone Biles and South Africa's Caster Semenya, while Brazil's flag was carried by Isaquias Queirez dos Santos, who won two silver medals and bronze in men's canoe.

After being booed in his brief appearance at the opening ceremony, Brazil's interim President, Michel Temer, didn't attend.

Rio's Mayor Eduardo Paes was there - and was roundly booed.

And Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and the Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike attended to represent Tokyo, the next Olympic host.

Japan, which is the world's furthest country from Brazil, used augmented reality technology in its eye-catching section of the ceremony which featured manga and anime characters including Mario.

The Nintendo character ran through a pipe which supposedly connected Tokyo with Rio, then, centre stage at the Maracana, morphed into Japan's Prime Minister.

Governor Koike then took the Olympic flag in a symbolic handover.

Where to see them

• About 6am tomorrow: Olympians at Auckland International Airport arrival area

• 9am - 10 am: Olympians at the ANZ Welcome Home celebration at The Cloud on Queens Wharf

- NZ Herald

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