ELK COUNTY, Pa. (WTAJ) – Fresh off representing the United States in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics in the javelin competition, Michael Shuey was welcomed home in grand fashion Friday night. Hundreds lined the streets of downtown Johnsonburg to welcome back the hometown hero by way of a rolling rally.
Friends, family, and state representatives took part in the parade. While neighbors and other community members cheered along the parade route. Johnsonburg and surrounding communities have followed along throughout Michael’s Olympic journey, but he said seeing the turnout Friday night was overwhelming.
“I was so surprised when I came out today and saw the turnout,” Michael Shuey said. “I was just overwhelmed with how much support everyone showing today and has been showing all summer. So it’s a pretty amazing, really emotional day.”
The outpouring of support his community has shown him over the past few months has left an impact on Shuey that he said will last a lifetime.
“I didn’t realize that I was having that big of an effect on them,” Shuey said.
Following the parade, city council members, state representatives, former coaches of Shuey, and Shuey himself spoke to the crowd, as they remembered memories of the Olympian throughout the years. Afterward, the sea of people went nowhere, as they stood on the streets long after the parade had wrapped to get a photo and autograph from Shuey.
“I’ve signed autographs for kids in Peru kids – in Belarus,” Shuey said. “And to come here and sign them for my friends and family and people in the community, it’s just it’s unbelievable”
Although his journey in Japan was cut short after suffering a knee injury during the opening round of qualifications, Shuey, who has had his community behind him throughout all his accomplishments in his javelin career, now has his sights set on Paris in 2024.
“Every parade they make for me keeps getting bigger and bigger, so I don’t know if any parade can top this but I’ll do my best,” Shuey said.
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