It was all horns blazing and crowd cheering for the Olympian homecoming Sunday afternoon in Medway, Massachusetts.
Olympic luger Zack DiGregorio came back from Beijing to waving flags, handmade signs and a community proud of how he represented Team USA on the world stage.
It was a bigger welcome than DiGregorio ever imagined.
"I didn't realize it was going to be this," he said.
Not even the snow was able to dampen the warm embrace he got from his supporters at Medway High School, as they joined DiGregorio's family and friends to celebrate the return of their Olympic hero. Among them was the town's fire chief, who was once DiGregorio’s football coach.
"We knew that he was Olympic material, if you will," said Medway Fire Chief Jeff Lynch.
DiGregorio's example has inspired the future generation of competitors in his hometown.
"I was super excited, because I watched him on television and I was like, 'Wow, he was so good,' and I love watching the luge," said 9-year-old Julianne DiGiacomo.
"I want to ice skate when I grow up," added 5-year-old Evelyn Dean.
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The 20-year-old doubles luge Olympian placed 11th at the 2022 Winter Games with his partner, Sean Hollander. Although he didn't bring home a medal, DiGregorio couldn't be prouder of his Olympic debut.
"It's been a huge chunk of my life and a huge commitment, and so it's really awesome to see it pay off and make it to the big stage of the Olympics," he said.
But no one is prouder than the people who saw him grow into a world-class athlete.
"It's incredible that he's my son and he was able to achieve so much. You know, he set his mind to a goal and he got it," said DiGregorio's father, Steve.
Beijing was just the beginning for DiGregorio's Olympic career. He already has his sights on Italy, where he hopes to earn some hardware in 2026.