TOKYO–When Courtney Frerichs was a little girl in Nixa she dreamed of winning an Olympic medal….in gymnastics.
Early Wednesday morning our time, that Olympic dream came true, but in a different sport, the 3,000 meter steeplechase.
The 3,000 meter steeplechase is unique in track and field where athletes run for seven laps and jump hurdles and negotiate water jumps.
Courtney Frerichs started the race in the lead pack.
But with four laps left, Frerichs moved to the front.
It was a gutsy move to take control of the race and force the issue.
Frerichs said one thing she learned from her 2013 Rio Olympic experience was to be more aggressive.
And then she extended the lead as they headed to the last lap.
Uganda’s Peruth Chemutai was in hot persuit.
By the back stretch, Chemutai had caught Frerichs.
But the 28-year old finished strong, taking the silver medal in 9:04:79.
But that second place finish is the best ever for an American in the Olympics.
Frerichs tweeted after the race that:
“This has been a dream come true. Thank you so much for everyone who has been a part of this journey. So many thoughts but for now just taking it all in.”
What’s next for Olympian Courtney Frerichs, she says she wants to race in Paris and Los Angeles.
The next two Olympics.
Hundreds of family and friends gathered in Nixa early this morning to watch their Olympic hero race.
Courtney Frerichs grew up in Nixa, ran cross country for the Eagles.
And she comes home every year for the holidays.
And the family along with the Ozarks are proud.
“Incredible. Just incredible. It’s kind of surreal. She works so hard. She gives up a lot for training for this,” said Courtney’s mom Kathy.
“Normally when she puts a goal out there she will do everything she can to hit it. I don’t know if there’s anyone who works harder then she does. Just to be able to watch your daughter go through that. And see it pay off in something like this, it’s just unreal,” said Courtney’s dad Scott.