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Welcoming Ceremonies for Olympic and Paralympic Champions at Riga Airport

Welcoming of Double Gold Medallist Maris Strombergs


The double Olympic champion, BMX rider Maris Strombergs, was welcomed at Riga Airport with loud cheers, shouts, flowers, and a cake on 13 August 2012. Riga Airport, together with the airline airBaltic and the Latvian Olympic Committee had prepared an unprecedented welcoming ceremony for the double Olympic champion on the ramp where several hundreds of fans awaited him.


The first ones to welcome the champion were 162 BMX riders from all over Latvia. The crowd shouted out Strombergs’ name while he disembarked the plane. The Latvian National Armed Forces orchestra played the Latvian national anthem in honour of the champion.
Prime Minister Valdis Dombrovskis, Aldons Vrublevskis, President of the Latvian Olympic Committee and Roberts Kilis, Minister for Education and Science welcomed Strombergs with speeches.


Following the official addresses, the floor was given to the champion. He thanked the fans, his family, and his fellow athletes. Emphasizing the importance of his teammates in the Olympic success, he said: “They were the ones to push me forward in hard times of and to set a good example at training sessions. We have never had a team this good.”


Strombergs’ coach Ivo Lakucs also thanked the team that had helped achieve such success.


The rapper Gustavo and DJ Toms Grevins welcomed Strombergs with a performance.


After the official welcoming ceremony Maris Strombergs signed autographs and set off to meet his fans in Valmiera.


Welcoming of Bronze Medallists Martins Plavins and Janis Smedins


On 12 August, at Riga Airport several hundreds of supporters welcomed the Latvian beach volleyball players who had won a bronze medal in London XXX Olympic Games – Martins Plavins and Janis Smedins.


The airport’s Arrivals Hall was full of fans holding Latvian flags and posters in honour of both beach volleyball players.
Plavins and Smedins were greeted by the Riga Brass Band, the heads of Riga City Council, and the representatives of the Latvian Volleyball Federation.


After official speeches and greetings, the volleyball players signed autographs and talked to the fans.


The athletes left the airport in a white limousine with a sign “Olympians, Medallists”.

Welcoming of Latvian Paralympians


On 10 September, the eight Latvian participants of London 2012 Paralympics – Aigars Apinis, Rihards Snikus, Taiga Kantane, Liene Gruzite, Janis Plotnieks, Dmitrijs Silovs, Edgars Klavins, and Andis Ozolnieks - returned home from the UK.


The paralympians were welcomed at Riga Airport by Roberts Kilis, Minister for Education and Science, Ilze Vinkele, Minister for Welfare, and Guntis Belavskis, Chairman of the Board of Citadele Bank.


The athletes were greeted by relatives, friends and fans. The band PeR dedicated the song “Vari” (“You can”) to the paralympians.
In the course of the evening, the fans could obtain autographs from the paralympians on special cards with their portraits and take photos with the athletes.


The fans greeted the paralympians with inspiring posters, flowers and other fan attributes.


Riga International Airport allowed the fans who had come to greet the Latvian athletes to park their cars free of charge in parking place P1.