Lilly King, other IU Olympians show off their hardware

IU Olympians show off their hardware
Lilly King (Source: WAVE 3 News)
Lilly King (Source: WAVE 3 News)

BLOOMINGTON, IN (WAVE) - They are the pride of the USA, WAVE Country and Hoosier Nation and the gold medal Olympians are now back home on the Indiana University campus: one school, six Olympic medals - including three golds.

The IU Olympians, including double-gold medalist Lilly King, were back in Bloomington, Ind. to talk about their time in Rio. Even as life has settled down a little, the Olympians say it's still a little surreal. Wave 3 News got a chance to see their medals up close Friday afternoon.

Showing off her two gold medals, King an IU sophomore, who won the women's 100-meter breaststroke in Rio and another gold in the 4x100 medley relay, is trying to get back to normal life. King knew her relatives in Charlestown, Ind. were excited, but King had no clue the kind of frenzy that comes with gold.

"With just social media following alone, just everything skyrocketing so fast and people know who I am now, so that's a little strange," King explained. "I went to Target and four or five random people came up and hugged me."

King's IU teammate Blake Pieroni, won gold in the 400 free relay, and 2015 IU grad Cody Miller, who won gold and bronze in Rio, agree. Miller says it was an honor to represent Team USA in the 100 breaststroke and to be part of Michael Phelps' legacy by helping the men's 4x100 medley relay team win gold.

"I was shocked with how many people in town recognized me," Miller said. "I am by no means famous. People have said I'm 'Bloomington famous' and I'll take that."

But Miller wants to enjoy the moment.

"Before we even got back people are like, 'So Tokyo 2020?'" Miller said. "I'm like, 'Bro, the games aren't even over yet. Let's just take a breath and soak it in.'"

Extra attention came to the Hoosiers after King spoke out rival Yulia Efimova, who had been linked to doping.

"It actually kind of exploded and I was being referred to as a savage," King laughed, "I think that was the term."

King's coach Ray Looze and her teammates say they were proud of her honesty.

"To cut corners and to take a PED (performance-enhancing drug) that enhances performance, it's just not right," Looze said. "And to have to swim against somebody like that, then to beat them, that was like vindication to the tenth exponent."

Another of King's IU teammate, Kennedy Goss, won a bronze medal for Canada in the 4x200 freestyle relay, making winning an Olympic medal a family affair. Her father, Sandy, won two silvers in the relay medley in 1984 and 1988.

Meanwhile, Looze says he plans to make good on his promise to the team to get an Olympic tattoo.

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