London’s bid to host the 2012 Olympic Games and Paralympic Games has been boosted by the fantastic support displayed by British sports fans in Athens, according to bid leader Sebastian Coe.

As the triumphant athletes arrived home to a rapturous reception at Gatwick airport, Lord Coe also paid tribute to the thousands of supporters who offered vocal and visual backing to Team GB.

The London 2012 Chairman said: ‘Outside of the Greeks, there is no doubt Britain has supplied the most passionate and vocal fans in the entire Games.

‘When the broadcasters are picking out supporters to give their pieces colour, it’s the British fans and their Union Jacks who appear.

‘I think the International Olympic Committee recognise that, which is why we leave Athens with our bid in very good shape.’

Lord Coe reserved his highest praise for Kelly Holmes, describing the double gold medallist as one of Britain’s greatest ever Olympians.

Holmes, 34, became only the seventh British woman to become an Olympic athletics champion and will be an inspiration in the 2012 campaign.

‘She’s been an inspiration to the whole country and that is fantastic for the nation and our sporting aspirations.

‘Success is what we need most of all and the Olympics has caught the imagination at home in such a way that of course it can only help the bid.’

Meanwhile, rowing legend Matthew Pinsent has re-iterated his devotion to the 2012 campaign.

Pinsent, who won his fourth consecutive Olympic gold in the men’s coxless fours, said: ‘I would love to see the Olympics come to the UK in 2012.

‘Imagine what it would be like for the athletes. It would be amazing.’

And British Olympic Association chief executive Simon Clegg added that the team’s medal success in Greece would also have done a lot to bolster London’s bid.

‘The medal table speaks for itself,’ he said at the press conference to mark Team GB’s homecoming at Gatwick Airport.

‘Success is measured against results – so it was mission accomplished. I believe we have considerably enhanced Britain’s chances for 2012.’

For further information contact the London 2012 Press Office on 020 7093 5100