WASHINGTON — Montgomery County will soon create its own sports hall of fame, and four homegrown athletes who competed in the Rio Olympics will be the first inductees.
The announcement was made Monday night at the Silver Spring Civic Building, where a special event was held to recognize the four: Jack Conger, Katie Ledecky, Helen Maroulis and Ashley Nee.
Maroulis was unable to attend.
“We literally welcome people from all over the world, but we have sent out across the world some of our finest and that’s what this is about,” said Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett.
“Thank you to all of you. I can’t even describe the amount of support that we all received while we were in Rio. That’s what keeps us going,” said Ledecky.
Conger, one of the U.S. athletes caught up in Ryan Lochte’s Rio robbery controversy, delivered his first post-Olympic speech at the event.
He said he’s already thinking about the 2020 Olympics.
“Going to Rio really made me realize how badly I still want to go to Toyko and keep fighting and keep moving forward, so thank you,” said Conger.
Nee said she could not have made it to Rio without the county’s support.
“The way that I got to the Olympic Games was 85 percent through donations from Montgomery County residents,” she said.
It was announced that Ledecky and Maroulis will be inducted into the Maryland Women’s Hall of Fame, and that all four Olympians will become part of something new.
“County Executive Leggett wants to acknowledge the remarkable achievements of our athletes over time, and has asked me to commission and begin the process of developing a Montgomery County sports hall of fame,” said Gabe Albornoz, director of the county’s recreation department.
He said they will be recruiting members to an advisory committee.
At the very end of the evening, kids in the audience got a treat: They were invited to come up front to take quick individual photos with the athletes.