Katie Ledecky was swarmed by friends and fans on Wednesday when she returned to the U.S. from Rio de Janeiro
Welcome home, Katie Ledecky!
The 19-year-old gold medalist received an Olympic-sized welcome when she touched down at the Washington Dulles Airport in D.C. on Wednesday to a crowd of cheering fans, friends and high school teammates.
“It means so much to me to have their support,” she told reporters then, according to ABC News. “I felt it all week in Rio and to see them first thing when I get home, it means so much to me.”
In a video of her arrival, Ledecky wore all of her Rio Olympic medals – four gold and one silver – around her neck as the crowd swarmed her with hugs and reporters clamored for photos of the Olympian.
The teen dominated at this year’s Games, winning a slew of medals and setting a new world record in the 800-meter freestyle.
“It feels great when all the hard work pays off,” she said at the welcoming. “I set some pretty big goals a couple years ago and I didn’t know if they would be attainable, but I met them right on the nose and that’s the best feeling I think any swimmer could have.”
Among those waiting for the athlete when she landed were a group of her friends from Stone Ridge School of the Sacred Heart, her alma mater, ABC News reports.
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“The friends held a large banner that read, “Good Luck Olympic Swimmer Katie Ledecky ’15!”
Now that she’s back home, Ledecky said she has her sights set on a simpler victory: getting her driver’s license.
“I still have my learner’s permit,” she said. “It hasn’t been a top priority of mine to get [a license] the last couple years.”