SILVER SPRING, Md. - Many Americans cheered on Team USA at the Olympics in Brazil. Several of the athletes are from Montgomery County in Maryland and they were honored Monday night.
A celebration was held for Olympians Katie Ledecky, Helen Maroulis, Jack Conger and Ashley Nee as they all received awards from the county.
“All of the honors are amazing and we just all really appreciate the support we have received from this community and hopefully we are inspiring little kids to go after their dreams,” said Ledecky, who came home with four gold medals and a silver medal at Rio.
Maroulis, the first American woman to win a freestyle wrestling gold medal, was unable to attend due to travel.
Even though this was a celebratory event, it was also Conger’s first post-Olympic speech following the very high-profile gas station destruction incident in Rio.
Conger is still on a four-month suspension handed down by the United States Olympic Committee and USA Swimming after he and three teammates, which included Ryan Lochte, reportedly lied about being attacked and robbed at a gas station.
The Rockville native spoke about his mistake and his message to the young people in attendance.
“It's all kind of about learning from your mistakes and moving on and making sure you are surrounding yourself with the right people,” he said. “It is life lessons that you learn and you take away the positives rather than the negatives and you just keep moving forward.”
This free event was held at the Silver Spring Civic Building and it was a packed house filled with children as they came out to catch a glimpse of the Olympic athletes.
Conger won a gold medal as part of the men’s 4x200 freestyle relay team.
In addition to being suspended from the sport, Conger is also completing community service. Conger's suspension ends next month. He is currently completing his senior year at the University of Texas where he is on the swim team. He said competing in 2020 Tokyo Olympics is his priority.
Nee, a Darnestown native and Northwest High School graduate, is a whitewater kayaker who finished 14th in the canoe slalom event at Rio.