Dover, NH Honors Olympian Jessica Parratto
Dover's Jessica Parratto brought her silver Olympic medal home on Tuesday as her hometown celebrated her accomplishments in Tokyo.
About 250 people greeted Parratto at the Rotary Arts Pavilion at Henry Law Park.
Dover Mayor Robert Carrier said her winning the silver with diving partner Delaney Schnell in the women’s 10-meter platform synchronized diving competition hits the heart.
"To have an Olympian with a silver medal from Dover, New Hampshire, what can you say? With all the stuff that's going on in the world, this is what we all need. It puts us on the map. We're very excited," Dover Mayor Robert Carrier told Seacoast Current after the event.
The mayor said there are other things in the works to honor Parratto, including adding her name to a sign already honoring fellow Dover Olympians Jessica Thompson and Cathy Shiro O'Brien which can be seen when entering downtown Dover.
Parratto felt the love.
"I'm just overwhelmed. I had to keep my speech a little short because I was going to get emotional because I love so many of these people here. The whole city of Dover is so amazing. I could feel their love in Tokyo and that was so special to me," Parratto said during an impromptu press conference after the event.
Wearing a white Olympic t-shirt and her medal around her neck, Parratto said she never thought she'd leave her hometown for her Olympic dreams.
"But something told me inside that this was the right move for me. I had this thought in my head you never know how good you're going to be if you don't take the opportunity. It was hard to leave," Parratto said.
While her parents were not in Tokyo for the games because of COVID-19 restrictions in place Parratto said her parents watched in the middle of the night during her competition. After leaving Dover on Thursday, Parratto said she will join her family in Philadelphia.
Parratto said it's difficult for her to wrap her head around the idea of being the inspiration for some of the young girls in the crowd. It reminded Parratto of when she was young watching Jenny Thompson, who was coached by her father.
"She was so inspiring to me. That's where my Olympic dream was born. I didn't know if that was a possibility at the time but it just came to be. So to see all these little girls here I hope that it inspires them the way Jenny inspired me," Parratto said.
Representatives for Gov. Chris Sununu, Sen. Jeanne Shaheen and Sen. Maggie Hassan read proclamations in praise of Parratto. Rep. Chris Pappas attended the ceremony.
Look for a photo gallery coming soon from photographer Shawn St. Hilaire.