Players Heather Petri and Annika Dries wore their medals proudly as city officials, friends and well-wishers congratulated them, their coaches and team managers for their win at the 2012 London Olympics.
The team, which has practiced at Los Alamitos-based Joint Forces Training Base since 1998, took the gold medal Aug. 9, defeating Spain 8 to 5 to win their fourth consecutive Olympic medal and their first Olympic gold.
“The city’s been wonderful to us,” said head coach Adam Krikorian. “Everyone treats us with so much respect and so much love.”
At the ceremony, Mayor Troy Edgar presented framed certificates honoring the attending team members, and a representative from Assemblyman Jim Silva office presented a similar certificate.
In response, the team gave the city a water polo ball signed by all the team members.
“This community is so proud of you,” said Mayor Pro Tem Marilynn Poe. “I still think you got the gold (in Australia in 2000). You were in there. I think so.”
Team USA won their first silver medal in 2000 when women's water polo was first introduced at the Olympics. The women brought home the bronze in 2004 and the silver in 2008.
Petri says the city has been a big part of her life, especially the pool at the Los-Alamitos, the .
“Frankly, I spent more hours in this pool than I have spent at any other place in like 15 years,” she said.
“Thank you, Los Alamitos for all that you’ve given us,” Petri added. “Everyone here is so sweet.”
Wearing shoes emblazoned with the American flag, Petri gave this advice to aspiring athletes:
“Stay fit, be active and get out there and try as many sports as you can,” Petri said.
Petri said that “it’s not always roses,” but it’s worth it.
A number of residents from Cypress, Seal Beach, Rossmoor and Los Alamitos came out to meet, get autographs from and take pictures with the gold medal winners.
One of them was 6-year-old Allyson Bragg.
Bragg, who says she wants to go to the Olympics someday (but added that she doesn’t know why) said it was cool to meet the Olympians.
Does she know why the council was honoring them Monday?
“Because they won the golden medal,” Bragg said.