Brittney Reese Takes Mississippi Pride to Olympics and Brings Home Gold to GulfportBy Rhonda Miller | Published 12 Aug 2012 08:42pm |
Gulfport native Brittney Reese is getting a hero’s welcome home in Mississippi with her gold medal for the long jump in the London Summer Olympics. MPB’s Rhonda Miller reports Reese’s admirers are in awe of her athletic achievements and delighted by her devotion to her home state.
Hundreds of students, local and state leaders and admirers from across Mississippi packed the airport in Gulfport Saturday, thrilled to welcome home Olympic long jump gold medalist Brittney Reese. Mayor George Schloegel presented roses to the 25-year-old Gulfport native.
"And now ladies and gentlemen, the woman of the hour, the woman of the year, our own gold, Brittney Reese."
With praise pouring down from state officials and leaders at schools she attended – Gulfport High School, Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College and Ole Miss – Reese raised her gold medal and repeated what has sealed her in so many hearts.
"I did this for y’all. We’ve been through a lot and this just means a whole lot to me. And I would like to just present this to y’all and show y'all what y’all done."
After thanking her on behalf of Mississippi, Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann said he was especially moved by her statement from the Olympic stage in London.
"The fact the she loved the Mississippi Gulf Coast and that we were rebuilding after Katrina and how much she loved the state of Mississippi. Those kinds of things were said to hundreds of millions of people."
Reese’s jump of 23 feet 4 ¼ inches to win the long jump gold medal is inspiring students like Gulfport High School senior Brittni Howell.
"She runs track and I think that’s awesome. I’m going to run track this year."
Reese said she reinforced her determination to win gold after finishing fifth in the Beijing Olympics in 2008.
"A lot of work, a lot of hard work, blood, sweat and tears. I worked hard four years to get on top of the stand."
At the podium in Gulfport, Reese personifies a hero - a soft-spoken woman who works as hard as she can and dedicates her achievements to her home and her country.
"I didn't expect this many people. This is great. I want to thank everybody for coming out."
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