Two Olympic Rowers Celebrated With Unexpected Rochester Parade
It has been quite a ride for Team USA Women's Eight rower Gia Doonan. From her thrilling victory of her opening heat at the Olympics scoring her a first class ticket to the finals, to the agony of defeat at the hands of the gold medal winning Canada, Doonan said "there's a lot to unpack both literally and emotionally" after her return from Tokyo.
Sirens blared and lights flashed in the puddles forming on the street as Doonan arrived back at her hometown of Rochester Thursday at about 3 p.m. First responders from the Rochester Police and Fire Departments along with the Mattapoisett Police and Fire Departments welcomed Doonan and her Women's Eight Olympic teammate Brooke Mooney back to town on the sleepy, rainy day.
Mooney recently set a world record for the fastest 2,000-meters on an indoor rowing machine. According to World Rowing, no other woman in the history of the sport has ever rowed an indoor 2,000-meters faster than the 6:29:1 that she pulled off on March 21. Mooney said she had no intention of rowing for a world record when she sat down to row that day.
The two Olympians had no idea what awaited them when they arrived at the Mattapoisett Park and Ride. The elite, world class rowers were expecting to meet up with Gia's mom, Liza, for a quiet ride up North Street. Instead, they were surprised with an unexpected parade and a police and fire engine escort.
The procession led them into the center of town to honor the American flag.
Doonan said she looks forward to relaxing with her family.