LAKE PLACID — The last hint of Sunday sunlight tossed deep pink shadows against the snow.
The backdrop proved perfect for a Winter Olympic parade, with athletes who live and train here welcomed home.
Bearing metals made of precious ores, they met at the Olympic Center near the arc of international flags.
Surrounded by a few hundred young skiers, sliders and skaters, the group was welcomed along their way with waving American flags and cheers from either side of Main Street.
For bobsled racers Steve Holcomb, the pilot, and Steve Langton, the brakeman, sometimes called by fellow competitors “the Steves-squared,” the afternoon’s celebration was like coming full circle.
“Winning a medal is the first dream I can remember,” Langton said as the athletes gathered in the Olympic Center ahead of their celebratory march.
“Lake Placid has been home to me for the past seven years. And the support here has been amazing.”
The push for Olympic achievement comes from within, he said of his bronze win in Sochi.
“Everybody has made sacrifices. But once you’ve accomplished your goal — it absolutely justifies all of it.”
Holcomb remembered watching Olympians compete when he was 8 years old.
“I wanted to win a medal,” he said. And he has since earned three — gold in Vancouver and two bronze in Sochi.
“To reach it, and now I’m 33, it was definitely worth it.”
USA Luge, bobsled and skeleton teams mustered in their silver-quilted Sochi jackets, special gear given to all athletes on Team USA. The jackets were designed to be worn on the medal podium. Every athlete got one of the jackets.
A special message is embroidered along the shoulder inside: “This is your moment.”
Langton took off his jacket to share the message.
“Sochi was breathtaking,” he said.