Kim Johnson ReportingIt is homecoming week at Wasatch High in Heber, and what a homecoming this town has! They rolled out the welcome mats today for hometown hero Cael Sanderson.
Heber’s hometown celebrity arrived by sheriff’s escort to some young fans requesting photos and autographs. Then Sanderson headed inside where an enthusiastic audience waited for their Olympic champ.
Sanderson told the kids he was their age when he first decided he wanted to be an Olympic champion. He encouraged them to do well in school and to commit to their goals.
Cael Sanderson: “Every day of your life pretty much you have to decide that over and over again. And that you are willing to go to practice and work hard.”
A little later Sanderson visited his alma mater, Wasatch High School, where he was greeted by dignitaries, friends and media, and where Utah’s lieutenant governor read a proclamation in Sanderson’s honor.
Gayle McKeachnie, Utah’s Lieutenant Governor: “We hereby declare September 23, 2004 as Cael Sanderson Day in Utah, and extend the best wishes to his continued success and happiness.”
Cael Sanderson: “I just want to say thanks to the community. Thank you everybody. It feels great to be home, especially after you’ve done so much, to be able to bring a gold medal home after that. I can’t express it, it’s very special.”
Sanderson’s mother says life has changed since her son’s gold medal performance in Greece, and she’s glad to have her son back home.
Debbie Sanderson: “It’s neat to be able to share our joy with other people who feel it because they’ve been around him. They love Cael and our family and it’s a neat experience.”
Tomorrow Sanderson will be honored in a homecoming parade. He’s going to be flown by helicopter into the game tomorrow night. Then at halftime he’ll be inducted into the wrestling hall of fame.