(NewsNation Now) — With the 2020 Summer Olympics competitions coming to a close Saturday in Tokyo, Olympians are returning to American soil, bringing with them gold, silver, bronze or simply an experience unlike any other.
Feeling homesick has been an issue for many of the athletes competing on the big stage without family or friends in the stands. Without a doubt — from high-profile athletes to unsung heroes — the welcoming parties back to the states has been special for Olympians.
“It feels so good; it finally feels like I won the Olympic gold,” said United State’s Ana Zolotic, who won a gold medal for the taekwondo women’s 57kg.
Many Olympics received a hero’s welcome — some with balloons and hugs, others with firefighters and party busses.
“I didn’t just win this medal for me and my country; I won it for everybody that’s here tonight, too,” said Kayle Browning.
From North America to Asia and back, Olympians’ return home parties prove passion and pride for national superstars is a party worth having.
“I was thinking on the plane, I’m like, oh it will just be like normal, see my family… you know, maybe snap some pictures with some friends,” Zolotic said. “But, God, I just got so emotional — I couldn’t believe I’m just happy to be here with my family and friends.”
And the biggest star of the games also made her way home — on Friday, Simone Biles posted touching pictures of her hugging loved ones at home in Houston.
- September 24: Social media helps unravel Petito case. Do you recognize the California mystery man?
- CDC endorses COVID booster for millions of older Americans
- Where is Brian Laundrie? All-star panel weighs in.
- Migrant crisis, unruly passengers and Donald Trump’s recent public statements
- House Jan. 6 panel subpoenas Trump advisers, associates