US women's water polo team honored in Los Alamitos for winning Olympic gold
LOS ALAMITOS, Calif. (KABC) -- The city of Los Alamitos, where the U.S. women's water polo team trains, paid tribute to the athletes who brought home a first-ever gold medal. The women held up their medals proudly on Monday while the crowd cheered.
"It's kind of like reliving the moment over and over and over again, which I like, " said Olympic gold medalist Heather Petri.
This is the first gold medal ever won by a U.S. women's water polo team since it became an Olympic sport back in 2000. Petri played on all four Olympic teams.
"See our flag at the top and know that you get to hear your national anthem, the people you're representing at home, gives me the chills," said Petri.
It was Annika Dries' first Olympics and first time on the medal stand.
"I know I was bawling up there, trying to sing. And, it's hilarious, I'm hearing all my teammates bawling around me," said Dries.
The City Council of Los Alamitos honored the team for its contributions to the city. The women have trained at the Joint Forces Training Base since 1998. It's a public pool, so the public can swim alongside them as they train.
"I remember when I was 12 or 13, just starting the sport, coming and watching the game...and seeing all these girls play, that was the moment that I thought like, 'Hey, I can maybe do this one day.' To have that experience and then go win a gold medal is unreal," said Dries.
Now Dries and her teammates are sharing it with a new generation of youngsters. Among them was a young boys baseball team that had just won the national championship in the Pony Baseball Mustang Division.
"We got their autographs. We got to hold their gold medals, and they are pretty thick," said 9-year-old baseball player Logan Miyamoto.
Petri had some inspiring words for the young athletes.
"It may be tough sometimes. It's not always roses, so keep trying and eventually you can achieve your dreams," said Petri.
After 15 years of training, Petri says she's ready to retire, but she wants to be in Rio de Janeiro in 2016 to watch her friend Annika Dries win another gold medal.
2012 olympics, olympics, elex michaelson
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