Katie Nageotte is a Cleveland kid through and through. She grew up in the nearby suburb of Olmstead Falls and graduated from Ashland University about an hour from home.
So when Nageotte won the gold medal in women’s pole vault at the Summer Games in Tokyo on Thursday, she immediately turned to home.
“Cleveland, this is for you!” she declared waving into a camera.
And Cleveland answered right back.
“Congratulations to Cleveland native and Tribe fan Katie Nageotte on inning gold in the women's pole vault at the #TokyoOlympics,” The Cleveland Indians (soon to be Guardians) posted on Twitter. “Let's have you out for a first pitch when you get home safe. What do you say, @ktnago13?”
Nageotte’s words were not lost on Cleveland Cavaliers fans, who pointed out that she echoed the words of LeBron James, another local, who brought an NBA title to their hometown in 2016.
Olmested Falls is less than 30 minutes from downtown Cleveland, which is known for its bucolic suburbs. She attended Olmsted Falls High School, where she excelled in track and field. She also competed on the diving, swimming and golf teams.
But it was pole vault that allowed Nageotte to reach new heights. She set multiple pole vault records in high school and qualified for the NCAA championships as a freshman at the University of Dayton. She would eventually transfer to Ashland University, where she was a two-time Division II national champion.
The Cleveland area threw its support behind Nageotte during the Games. The local Drug Mart in Olmsted Falls, for instance, showed its support with a window banner and Twitter post.
“Our Olmsted Falls store showing all the love & support for Olmsted Falls' local @ktnago13 as she goes for Gold tomorrow in the Women's Olympic Pole Vault Final!” the poster read. “Good Luck Katie!”
And locals gathered for a watch party, where revelers chanted “USA, USA” and then erupted in celebration after her winning vault.