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, 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.
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."
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.
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."
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.
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.
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More from our Sports archive: "Photo: Missy Franklin's new tattoo and hometown celebration plans."