OLMSTED FALLS, Ohio — The city of Olmsted Falls honored Olympic champion Katie Nageotte with a homecoming celebration Friday night.
Nageotte won the gold medal in the women’s pole vault competition at the Tokyo Olympics.
She returned to Northeast Ohio Thursday, and by Friday morning she was already back to training where her career started—the track at Olmsted Falls High School.
“This is where I learned to pole vault, this is where I picked up a pole for the first time, so it's a pretty special place,” said Nageotte.
The love Nageotte has for her alma mater and hometown has been given back tenfold over the last week with signs congratulating her plastered in front of homes, businesses, and schools.
Friday night, they city got to show her just how deep that love goes with a homecoming celebration at the high school’s football stadium.
Olmsted Falls educators, and Nageotte’s former coaches, spoke at the celebration, praising her grit and positive influence on the community.
“Katie is an inspiration. And her story is one of perseverance and determination. She’s an example of how initial failure doesn’t mean it's over. It means it's time to work harder and do more,” said Dr. Jim Lloyd, the superintendent of Olmsted Falls City Schools.
“I’d like to thank you for reminding us we need to set our goals big, we need to set the bar high,” said John Novotny, Nageotte’s former coach.
The celebration had to move indoors to the school’s practice gym as thunderstorms rolled through the area. Organizers played a video showing Nageotte’s achievements, and she also addressed the crowd of supporters.
“It all started here, at this school with a girl who just had a love for a sport, and a love of her community. So thank you Olmsted Falls. Thank you for supporting me, thank you for helping my mom raise me and my siblings when my dad passed away, and thank you for being here today,” said Nageotte.
Nageotte plans to compete a couple more times this year, including the upcoming Prefontaine Classic and the Diamond League finals. Next year, she plans to attend the World Championships in Eugene, Oregon. She also has her eye on the 2024 Olympics in Paris.
Download the News 5 Cleveland app now for more stories from us, plus alerts on major news, the latest weather forecast, traffic information and much more. Download now on your Apple device here, and your Android device here.