Claire Donahue returns to East TN with a gold medal

1:43 AM, Aug 8, 2012   |    comments
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After a long day of travel from London to East Tennessee, Claire Donahue will finally get to wake up in her own bed this week.

The Lenoir City Olympic swimmer returned from the games Tuesday evening, greeted by friends and family members at McGhee Tyson Airport.

Donahue says the support has been overwhelming.

"I was shocked when I saw the reaction of people, before I even went to the Olympics before I even got my gold medal. It was, just amazing," she said.

She received a gold medal for her efforts on Team USA's medley relay competition. Donahue swam in the preliminary heat, and shared in the victory when her teammates won the final race on Saturday.

"When you get to swim in a relay you really feel part of a team," Donahue said. "To be able to represent Team USA in that way is awesome."

Donahue's family joined her in London, and returned earlier this weekend. Her father, Chris, says he is proud of her achievements.

"Going to London, and watching her compete in the Olympics and do as well as she did, and compete as hard as she did with heart, and a good attitude...  to see her so happy and excited about whatever she's doing," [it's] very rewarding," he said.

Her mother, Connie, adds:

"She's still our little girl that we raised up, and we give her a hard time," she said. "She's always been a star for us."

Though the London games aren't far behind her, Donahue is already thinking ahead and considering the next Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

"I think, yah, Rio 2016," Donahue said, contemplating the next Olympic run.

"Right now I'm just going to take it year by year and make sure I'm still enjoying the sport and love it and still progressing."




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