[REAL VERSION] London 2012

REAL VERSION

Full coverage on NBC through August 12

Bethesda’s Golden Girl Returns Home

By Evan Pioch
|  Tuesday, Aug 7, 2012  |  Updated 11:27 AM EDT
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Classmates Cheer on Bethesda's Ledecky

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Ledecky's Lane to Olympic Final Began at Local Pool

Bethesda rallies around the youngest U.S. Olympian -- 15-year-old swimmer Katie Ledecky. (Photo courtesy Getty Images.)

Classmates Cheer on Bethesda's Ledecky

It was a party in Bethesda as 15-year-old Katie Ledecky went for gold in London.
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It’s time for a new banner above Stone Ridge High School -- “Good luck Olympic swimmer Katie Ledecky ’15! A Stone Ridge girl” is a bit outdated.

Something along the lines of “Congratulations gold medalist Katie Ledecky” might be a bit more appropriate.

What hasn’t been said about Ledecky? Sure, she may be the youngest member of the entire U.S. Olympic team, and yes, she surprised people when she qualified for the finals in the 800-meter freestyle, and then really surprised them when she won the gold. But now the 15-year-old is coming home to get ready for her sophomore year of high school, and according to one fan that makes her “possibly the coolest person I’ve ever met.”

Ledecky was greeted (and mobbed), by friends, family, lots of fans (including one dressed as an alligator) and cameras Monday night at Dulles Airport at the end of her 3,000 mile trip back from London.

It wasn’t long before Ledecky busted out the Olympic gold medal, and an equally golden smile -- not exactly something her classmates are doing two weeks before school. Ledecky said the entire experience was “fun,” but the fan in the gator costume seemed equally as thrilled: “I am so excited to see Katie!”

What do you do when your 15-year-old daughter returns home from the Olympics with a gold medal around her neck? If you’re the Ledecky family you go home and have a nice, quiet steak dinner.

Ledecky will be live in-studio Tuesday night on News 4 at 6 p.m.

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