Ledecky, Other Area Olympians Get a Red-carpet Homecoming

WASHINGTON – Five-time Olympic gold medalist Katie Ledecky, of Bethesda, explained on Wednesday night how Washington Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper came to wear her swim cap to safeguard his hair against spraying champagne the night the Nats celebrated clinching the National League East.

Ledecky, a graduate of Stone Ridge School of the Sacred Heart, explained that the swim cap was a thank-you gift after Harper helped her throw out the first pitch at a Nats game last month.

“He was so kind [at] the first pitch, how I gave him the medals [to hold] and was such a good sport about it and [we] got some great pictures out of that. So I sent him a thank-you note and put a cap in and I told him that maybe it could help him contain his hair as he was rounding third base, but he had some other ideas. I’m very honored that he decided to wear it for the celebration,” Ledecky said.

Ledecky, taking a break from classes at Stanford University, and other Olympic athletes appeared on the red carpet Wednesday night at the Team USA Awards at Georgetown University. The celebrations are a homecoming for Ledecky and other area Olympians.

“It’s really cool surrounded by great athletes … being back home is nice. I’m staying here for a couple of extra days to be with my family and hang out, so it’s awesome,” said Kyle Snyder of Woodbine, Maryland, the youngest Olympic wrestling champion in United States history. Snyder, a graduate of Our Lady of Good Counsel High School in Olney, won a gold medal at the Rio Games and is continuing his wrestling career at Ohio State.

“It’s great to see everyone. It’s like a little reunion. It’s great to back home and just celebrate,” said Tatyana McFadden of Clarkesville, Maryland, a Paralympian athlete who won 10 medals at the Summer Paralympic Games and is currently training for the Chicago Marathon.

The Olympic athletes have an appointment with President Barack Obama Thursday. They’ll be honored at a White House ceremony.

“I used to go to the White House as a kid,” said Ashley Nee, of Darnestown, Maryland, a graduate of Northwest High School and the University of Maryland who competed in canoe/kayak at the Rio Games. “I think going back and meeting President Obama is going to be a huge honor; seeing it from the inside will be different,”

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