Seacoast Olympians Bring Home One Silver Medal, Many Memories
Four Olympians with connections to the Seacoast brought home one medal and a lifetime of memories between them from the Summer Olympics in Tokyo.
The games came to a close on Sunday with extinguishing of the flame although most of the athletes including those from the Seacoast were not there to see it because of COVID-19 protocols requiring them to leave Tokyo within two days of competing.
Team USA tallied 113 total medals, the most of any nation at the Tokyo Games, and the most gold medals, with 39 (one more than second-place China)
EVENT: Women’s 10-meter platform synchronized diving
In only the third time they competed together Dover's Jessica Parratto and diving partner Delaney Schnell made history at the Summer Olympics in Tokyo as they earned the silver medal in the women’s 10-meter platform synchronized diving competition.
Parratto said it wasn’t going well after their first two dives of the day at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre, the easy back dive pike and reverse dive pike. They scored mostly in the 7.0-8.0 range, but most of the other teams were better and they ranked seventh on each.
“That kind of lit my fire under me,” Parratto said.
Parratto said her parents are "over the moon" at her medal but said her father, who trains fellow swimmer Regan Smith, was not in Tokyo to watch in person.
"Heading home with the most incredible experience and hardware to go with it as always, it’s been an honor to represent @teamusa. Thank you for everything @tokyo2020,"Parratto wrote on her Instagram account.
Dover Mayor Robert Carrier said the city would honor Parratto and her achievement.
Elle Purrier St. Pierre
EVENT: 1,500-meter women's track and field
The former UNH runner made it to the finals of the women's 1,500 meter and finished 10th with a time of 4:01:75, a quarter second off her time during her semi-final run on Wednesday. It was three seconds off her personal best.
Her family and friends watched the race in the gym at Richford High School in Richford, Vermont where an American flag flew high hung from a fire department ladder truck.
"It’s pretty wild that I’m disappointed with being 10th in the world when a few years ago this would have been so far out of reach," Purrier St. Pierre wrote on her Instagram.
She was trying to put things in perspective and realize how far she has come as a runner and is looking forward to the next world championship.
"I more than owe it to myself to celebrate this accomplishment and milestone so I’m making a conscious effort to do just that," she wrote. "So CHEEEEEEEERS cause I just placed 10th in the WORLD at the frickin OLYMPICS!!!! Hell yeah!!!"
She's looking forward to being back home in Vermont.
"I can not wait to be home with my husband (and dog) and my family and friends. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for all of your messages and support, I can not even begin to express how much gratitude I have for you all. See you soon," she wrote on her Instagram.
EVENT: 5,000-meter women's track and field
Rachel Schneider of Sanford as she finished seventh in the semifinal of the women's 5,000 meter at the Summer Olympics in Tokyo at a time of 15:00.07 ranking her at #17 putting her .52 seconds out of medal competition.
On her Instagram Schneider said it was "heartbreaking" and hard not to feel like she was a disappointment despite the outpouring of support.
"Hard to not play the ‘what if’s’ game. Hard to have it over and head home so quick," she wrote. But then she found a magnet at the Tokyo airport that said “success in examination” which struck a cord.
"A year ago I was in the midst of a long Achilles injury, barely ran the whole summer, and the world had no idea if the 2020 Olympics would even happen. Making #TeamUSA and showing up fit, healthy, and happy is something I never want to take for granted," Regardless of result- the process to becoming an Olympian, pouring it all out there on the track, and soaking in the experience leaves me with a sense of peace, gratitude, and success," Schneider wrote.
She also wrote how being in Tokyo has made her love of the Olympics grow.
"Watching the world come together to witness moments of artistic mastery in so many different forms; celebrate and more openly discuss the importance of prioritizing mental health; cheer on loved ones, teammates, and competitors; applaud beautiful moments of camaraderie, sportsmanship, and the ‘Olympic Spirit;’ and feel the raw emotions of triumphs and heartache on the grandest athletic stage (& from loved ones back home!) - it’s all pretty magical if you ask me."
The St. Thomas Aquinas graduate was making her first appearance in the Olympics after finishing third at the U.S. Olympic track and field trials in June.
Michelle Sechser & Molly Reckford
EVENT: Lightweight women's double sculls
Portsmouth rower Michelle Sechser and rowing partner Molly Reckford finished fifth in the Women's lightweight double sculls at the Summer Olympics which made for a "mindblowing" experience.
"Racing at the Olympic Games was more amazing than I ever could have imagined. In all 6 years that I've raced in the LW2X, this was the fastest, tightest, and hardest the event has ever been. Molly and I were all in. If you had told me 17 months ago - before I had even met Molly - that we would row a 6:41 (the World Record was 6:47 at the time) and finish out the Olympic Games 1 second away from a Gold Medal my heart would have squealed with delight,"Sechser wrote on her Instagram.
Sechser said she was appreciative of the support she and the woman she considers a soul sister received.
"It moves me to tears to think about all these people who cheer me on while I get to do what I love the most: race my heart out. Thank you to everyone who believes in us, supports us, encourages, and plays a part in this," she wrote.