Sydney welcomes home Olympians

THE green and gold tickertape showered Sydney's CBD on Monday, it was hard to tell who was more excited - the fans or the Olympians.

Sydney was the first city to host one of five Olympic welcome-home parades schedules across the country this week.

Mixing with life-like kangaroos on springs and waving Australian flags, more than 100 athletes posed for photographs and signed autographs for eager fans.

A little bit of London featured in the parade in the form of a red double-decker bus and walking phone booth and a carnival style float complete with shimmering Brazilian dancers paid tribute to the next host city Rio.

Opening ceremony flag bearer and women's basketball captain Lauren Jackson was handed the keys to the city by Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore.

Giddy posts flooded social networking sites.

Swimmer Libby Trickett tweeted "Totally almost knocked over the Governor!! Yikes" while basketballer Liz Cambage described the experience as a "total hoot".

Tradies on scaffolds and workers in high rise office blocks on George St had the best views but thousands of fans were happy to line overcrowded footpaths.

At least 10,000 were expected at Town Hall square where high profile politicians and celebrities were on hand to offer their congratulations.

The parade followed a morning tea at Kirribilli House with Prime Minister Julia Gillard on Sunday.

The largest crowd is expected in Brisbane on Friday when the majority of medal winners are celebrated in their home state.