Reese inspires young athletes with gold medal win - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Reese inspires young athletes with gold medal win

Hometown hero Brittney Reese is coming back to Gulfport with the gold. The 25-year-old took center stage Wednesday at the 2012 Olympic Games claiming a gold medal after jumping 7.12 meters in the long jump. (Photo source: Twitter) Hometown hero Brittney Reese is coming back to Gulfport with the gold. The 25-year-old took center stage Wednesday at the 2012 Olympic Games claiming a gold medal after jumping 7.12 meters in the long jump. (Photo source: Twitter)
GULFPORT, MS -

Hometown hero Brittney Reese is coming back to Gulfport with the gold. The 25-year-old took center stage Wednesday at the 2012 Olympic Games claiming a gold medal after jumping 7.12 meters in the long jump.

Nearly 40 fifth graders and teachers at 28th Street Elementary in Gulfport, including Reese's cousin Beverly Mhlanga, sat watching a live feed from London waiting to see Reese jump her way to victory.

"Go Brittney Reese, go Brittney Reese!" the kids screamed.

One teacher was in awe thinking about, "How much dedication it took to get to this one race. Every day, consistently working, practicing, training."

But suddenly, the bell rang and school was dismissed. Although students weren't able to see Reese clench the gold in London, students like 10-year-old Jaleen January said he already knows he wants to follow in Reese's footsteps.

"I want to run track when I get older," January said. "I want it so bad."

January said he is a fast runner, loves the sport and is already training hard.

"Every day I go outside and I ask people if they want to race. And while I'm young, I can practice running, so when I get old I can be able to do it," said January, who also said he now has a hometown Olympic star to admire.

"I think it's amazing. She's a role model to me and I want to be just like her when I grow up."

Teacher Beverly Mhlanga was able to stay behind in the classroom and watch her cousin jump. She was beside herself when she realized Reese has clinched the top spot.

"Yes," she screamed. "She did it! Oh my gosh, Brittney!"

Reese is expected to arrive home in Gulfport Saturday. Her plane is scheduled to land at 6:30 p.m. at the Gulfport-Biloxi International Airport. The public is invited to attend carrying signs and flags welcoming her home.

Copyright 2012 WLOX. All rights reserved.

SLIDESHOW: Welcome Home, Brittney Reese!

Olympic gold medalist Brittney Reese was welcomed home to Gulfport Saturday night by hundreds of proud South Mississippians. More>>

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