Photos: Missy Franklin dances at Olympic-sized welcome home ceremony
On Saturday, Colorada welcomed back Missy Franklin and home-state Olympians at a Centennial Center Park event. As Governor John Hickenlooper noted, Colorado athletes won nine of 104 U.S. medals at the Olympics this year. By his math, that's 8.65 percent of the total, though Coloradans only make up 2 percent of the population. So "we outperformed the market substantially," he said. Get details and see photos of Franklin and fellow Olympians below.
Chris Marlowe welcomes the Olympians home.
Chris Marlowe, the play-by-play announcer for the Nuggets, emceed the event partly because he's a lively public speaker, but mostly due to the fact that he's also an Olympian. His men's volleyball team won gold in the 1984 games in Las Angeles, and now he's neighbors with Missy Franklin. "We're here for those who dared to dream," he told the audience.
Students from Franklin's high school, Regis Jesuit, graced the stage to sing the national anthem.
Franklin salutes her country and her classmates during the national anthem.
Governor John Hickenlooper thanks Colorado's Olympians of past and present.
A tiny audience member tries to get as high as the media to see the Olympians.
After the national anthem, Hickenlooper remarked on the dedication Olympians show, noting that it reflects a similar driven displayed throughout the state. He also mentioned by name Emma Coburn, who competed in the steeplechase, Timmy Duggan in cycling, Taylor Phinney in cycling, David McKienzie in volleyball, Janay DeLoach in the long jump and Matt Emmons in shooting before introducing the athletes onstage.
One of them, Lance Brooks, threw discus in track and field and advised those people inspired by the Olympics to "never give up."
Brooks signs autographs for enthusiastic kids.
David Herman represented BMX racing for Colorado.
Chris Marlowe and Governor Hickenlooper congratulate and thank our athletes.
Taylor Ritzel holds up her gold medal.
Taylor Ritzel helped the American team win a gold medal in rowing. Her grandfather, Red Miller, led the Denver Broncos to their first Super Bowl appearance and passed on that "culture of winning," as Hickenlooper said to Taylor. "I was always told I got my sports genes from my dad's side," Ritzel joked.
The crowd gathers in anticipation of the event.
Hailing from Fort Collins, Georgia Gould won a bronze medal in mountain biking. "I can't think of a better place on earth [to train]," she said. "I hope the bronze medal will inspire you to get out and ride a bike in beautiful Colorado."
Gould encourages a group of girls to keep biking.
Swarms of fans try to talk to Missy Franklin.
Kara Lynn Joyce also swam in London.
Franklin applaudes her classmates after their performance of the national anthem.
Rylee, Julia and Erin swim at Aces and are fans and friends of Missy.
Page down to see and read more about Missy Franklin's Olympic-sized welcome home ceremony. In honor of the city of Centennial, Mayor Cathy Noon introduced hometown hero Missy Franklin to the crowd. Twelve years ago, when Centennial was first recognized as a city, the soon-to-be famous swimmer was five years old. Now that same Centennial toddler holds four Olympic gold medals and a bronze medal as well as the world record for the 200 meter backstroke.
"Missy inspires everyone to give their best individual effort while working together as a team," Noon praised Missy as the crowd cheered.
Missy Franklin hugs Centennial Mayor Cathy Noon.
Missy Franklin mimics the US swim teams dance to "Call Me Maybe" onstage.
Once at the podium, Missy's contagious smile lit up the stage as she did her own dance to "Call Me Maybe," reminiscent of the USA Olympic swim team's version of the song. In her usual bubbly mood, Missy spoke to her family, friends and Colorado.
"I missed you guys so much this summer! Going out and getting the gold is great, but coming home is what really inspires us." Missy started her senior year at Regis Jesuit High School on Thursday after getting her first tattoo -- complete with an Olympic theme.
Missy Franklin dances onstage.
All photos by Natalie Gonzalez
More from our Sports archive: "Photo: Missy Franklin's new tattoo and hometown celebration plans."
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