With smiles as bright as the multicolored medals they wore off Alaska Airlines Flight 74, Juneau’s Christine Quick and CJ Umbs entered the Juneau International Airport to a throng of waiting fans on Monday night.
“I had fun,” Umbs said. “Good times.”
Quick and Umbs competed last week in the 2015 Special Olympic World Summer Games in Los Angeles where Quick won two medals and Umbs three.
“L.A. California was fun,” Quick said. “I went shopping and swimming a lot.”
The duo were half of the four-person Alaskan contingent along with Kodiak power lifter Brittany Tregarthen and Palmer level five golfer Garrett Stortz and his caddie, Scott Johnson on the 304-member USA team.
More than 7,000 athletes from 177 nations competed in 25 sports during the weeklong games.
Opening ceremonies in the historic Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, the only venue to host two Olympiads (1932 and 1984), two Super Bowls (I and VII) and the World Series (1959), and the entire Olympic events were televised live internationally on ESPN on July 25.
“It was big,” Umbs said.
The ceremonies included the Parade of Athletes and the final leg of the Law Enforcement Torch Run and lighting of the Special Olympics cauldron.
“It was really good,” Quick said. “Every one was saying ‘hi’ and ‘USA,’ all the time.”
Quick earned a gold medal in the 50-meter backstroke, a gold medal in the 4x50 freestyle relay and a seventh-place ribbon in the 100-meter freestyle.
Umbs won a gold medal for the 4x100 freestyle relay, a silver medal in the 400-meter freestyle, a bronze medal in the 100-meter backstroke and a fourth-place ribbon in the 200-meter freestyle.
When asked which medal was his favorite, Umbs replied, “All three.”
Tregarthen won a silver medal in the bench press, a bronze medal in the squat, a fourth-place ribbon in the deadlift and a bronze medal for overall score.
Stortz won a bronze medal with a personal-best score of 77.
Quick and Umbs stayed with other athletes at the Olympic Village on the campuses of USC and UCLA, and enjoyed the camaraderie, and the food.
“French toast,” Quick exclaimed. “And eggs, that was my favorite.”
“Hamburgers,” Umbs added. “And my roommate and new friend is Matt.”
After closing ceremonies in Los Angeles, the four Alaskans flew to Anchorage where they were greeted by the public at Ted Stevens International Airport.
“I can’t wait to go home to sleep,” Quick said. “I am tired from the trip. There were a lot of highlights.”
One of the highlights was meeting other Olympians.
“Michael Phelps,” Quick said. “He is my good movie star. I like him. He hugged me and took my picture. He gave us all high fives. I am going to swim against him. I am going to beat him.”