Cleveland native Katie Nageotte takes home gold in women's pole vault at Tokyo Olympics

Tokyo Olympics Athletics
Posted at 8:40 AM, Aug 05, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-06 18:32:26-04

CLEVELAND — Katie Nageotte, of Olmsted Township, is taking home the gold in women’s pole vault for Team USA.

A graduate of Ashland University, Nageotte was a two-time NCAA Division II national champion and three-time D-II All-American as an Ashland Eagle.

She joins fellow Ashland University track and field alums Jackie Jeschelnig Ulm (2004) and Kibwe Johnson (2012-2016) as Eagles to represent Team USA at the Summer Olympics.

Inside Fat Little Buddies Tavern in Olmsted Township, excitement bubbled over the glasses filled for this occasion as dozens packed inside early Thursday morning to watch Nageotte claim gold.

“We opened at 5 a.m. and people started rolling in,” owner Cathy O’Malley said. “It means a lot to everybody in this community. She’s truly a hero in this community.”

Nageotte grew up in Olmsted Township and graduated from Olmsted Falls High School.

Childhood photos adorned the walls of the bar as Katie’s family found themselves surrounded by the village that helped raise this Olympic champion.

“Oh my gosh, it was so unbelievable,” mother Diane Nageotte said. “My husband passed away when the kids were pretty young. This community just came together and supported us then. Got us through a really tough time and gave us strength and support. Now that we have something happy to celebrate, they’re all behind us again. It's so nice to be able to celebrate something happy and joyous again.”

Tokyo Olympics Athletics
Katie Nageotte, of United States, competes in the final of the women's pole vault at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Thursday, Aug. 5, 2021, in Tokyo. (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader)

Leading up to her event, the volume of signs posted throughout the area supporting Nageotte gave the impression Nageotte was running for political office.

“It’s kind of overwhelming seeing how many people are supporting her,” her brother Andy Nageotte said.

On Friday, Aug. 13, the community will formally honor and welcome home its gold medalist. Festivities were scheduled to start at 5 p.m. at the Village Green Park.

The city has since changed the venue to the stadium.

"Just praying this isn’t a dream we wake up from," Diane Nageotte added.

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