It was a time to celebrate Thursday as Fayette County Olympic hopefuls Christian Taylor and Kelley O’Hara realized their dreams of capturing a gold medal at the 2012 London Olympic Games.
Taylor hoisted the American flag in victory after he was announced as the winner of the Triple Jump event, and O’Hara joined her teammates in belting out the national anthem on the medal stand to celebrate the women’s soccer team winning 2-1 over Japan.
Taylor graduated from Sandy Creek High School and O’Hara graduated from Starr’s Mill High School, and you can bet that former teachers along with thousands of friends and supporters tuned in live to watch their success.
Both athletes gushed on Twitter following the events, which took place within an hour of each other.
“Thank you for all the prayers and support you have all given me. I give all the glory to my Lord. Without Him I am nothing!” Taylor wrote.
O’Hara posted a photo of herself and a teammate displaying their coveted gold medals.
“WHAT?!?!?! We did it!!!!!! Everything is gold and nothing hurts,” O’Hara wrote.
Taylor faced a challenge from the beginning, as he faulted on his first two jumps. His third jump put him in fifth place, but it was the fourth time that was the charm. He sailed 17.81 meters to take the lead from U.S. teammate Will Claye, who finished with the silver medal.
O’Hara, though stationed on defense, got involved in the first U.S. goal with a pass to Alex Morgan that was quickly redirected to the front of the net, where Carli Lloyd speared it in with a header.
Lloyd later would score the difference maker in the victory, sealing her name in the annals of Olympic history along with her teammates. The U.S. team also could revel in the fact that revenge was theirs, as Japan had beaten them in the World Cup last year.
There was no mistaking the joy on the team’s faces as they could not contain their happiness with any level of stoicism. They were proud of their victory and proud of representing their country, and they were happy.
After being declared the victor, Taylor went directly to the stands to thank his family and friends with hugs before lifting the flag high, victorious, in a brief sprint. It wasn’t a full victory lap, but it would more than suffice.
Afterwards, Taylor told The Washington Post newspaper that his eyes are now set on breaking the world record in the triple jump.