June 26 - British Airways, the Official Airline of London 2012, has unveiled a giant painting of heptathlon star Jessica Ennis on the Heathrow Airport flight path which will be seen by millions of visitors from abroad during the Olympic and Paralympic Games.
The creation (pictured top), which features the saying "Welcome to our turf", is designed to provide a warm reception home to ex-pat Team GB and ParalympicsGB fans while also reminding athletes and supporters from overseas that Great Britain has home advantage at this summer's Games.
Ennis is one of Britain's biggest Olympic gold medal hopes and the 2009 world champion admitted she was excited to see the image located on Thornbury playing fields in Hounslow, about three miles from Heathrow.
"I'm thrilled to be the first face that people will see arriving into the United Kingdom for the London 2012 Games," said the 26-year-old from Sheffield.
"I hope it brings excitement to homecoming Brits, and reminds international athletes that we're ready and prepared.
"We have the most dedicated fans in the world that will get behind us every step of the way to give us a home advantage."
Measuring 75x53 meters in size, the image is larger than 15 tennis courts and 193 London buses.
Over 600 litres of red, white and blue weatherproof paint was used and it took two days to complete the artwork on the grass.
Ennis' image will be displayed until July 17 by which time the majority of international athletes are expected to have arrived for the Games.
"Whether you're a Brit coming home, or an athlete arriving for the London 2012 Games, this celebratory message reminds us all of the power of the home crowd and how important it is to get behind Team GB and ParalympicsGB," said British Airways sponsorship manager Luisa Fernandez.
British Airways (pictured above) estimates it will fly 50,000 ex-pats back to the UK this summer and the airline has already launched a "Flying Britain Home" campaign offering £250,000 ($390,000/€311,000) worth of flights to Britons based abroad to fly back for the Games.
A further 50 flights to London are available to Team GB and ParalympicsGB athletes to bring home their friends and family for an extra boost during London 2012.
During the Games, the airline will host "Park Live presented by British Airways" at the Olympic Park, with giant screens enabling fans to come together and get behind the British athletes.
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