Gold-medal Winning Plymouth Natives Return Home
Less than a month after capturing Olympic gold for the U.S. Women’s Hockey team, Plymouth natives Kelly Pannek and Dani Cameranesi made their way to the Plymouth Ice Center, where they received a hero’s welcome.
“It’s really exciting for our community,” said Plymouth Mayor Kelli Slavik. “I think it’s always fun to celebrate any Olympian, but to have two from your hometown, it’s a really great honor.”
The City of Plymouth organized a reception for people to meet the two Olympians Saturday morning.
And for two and a half hours, hundreds of star-struck fans received autographs, photos and a dose of inspiration from these newly-crowned role models.
“They’re just like, really inspiring,” said Mari Turrittin, a 13-year-old hockey player from Plymouth. “And I want to win a gold medal.”
Turrittin didn’t hold back when asked what the day meant to her.
“I love having powerful female role models because, like, every girl needs someone to look up to,” she said. “For me, it might be these hockey players. For others, it might be an actor or a singer.”
The significance of their accomplishments, and what it means to the next generation of hockey players, is not lost on Pannek and Cameranesi.
“Yeah that’s something we definitely talked about as a team a lot, is just being people young girls can all look to,” Pannek said.
“A dad mentioned that we’re the people they’re watching,” said Cameranesi. “And that kind of struck us, I think, just knowing that we can be that inspiration and people look up to us. It’s really humbling.”
To succeed on the biggest stage in the world is an accomplish most people can only dream of, but for the girls standing in line, or for the ones just learning how to skate under the exact same roof, it doesn’t take much to realize that with some perseverance and hard work, dreams really can come true.
“The Olympics would be amazing. I’d love that,” Turrittin said.