PITTSBURGH (KDKA/AP) — Pittsburgh is welcoming home a gold and bronze medalist from the Rio Olympics.
Olympic swimmer Leah Smith, 21, has been back in the states for about 24 hours. She just got back from Rio de Janeiro on Wednesday.
KDKA’s Amy Wadas met Leah at the Western Pa. Humane Society for the naming of a 1-year-old American pit bull terrier. The four-legged cutie’s name is also “Leah,” after the Mount Lebanon native.
It’s been quite the whirlwind for the swimmer since she arrived home.
“I didn’t really get to see my family in Rio. I got to wave to them in the stands, but I never got to actually see them in person, so it was special to actually be with my family,” Smith said.
She brought her medals with her to the animal shelter. The gold medal she received for the women’s 4×200-meter freestyle relay, and her bronze medal for the 400-meter freestyle events.
“I’ve been looking up to people who have Olympic medals my whole life, so now it’s just weird to be one of the people who has one,” Smith said.
She is a 2013 graduate of Oakland Catholic.
Smith didn’t have much to say when asked about fellow U.S. Olympic swimmers Ryan Lochte and three of his U.S. teammates caught up in a controversy in which Brazilian officials say they were not robbed as they claimed but vandalized a gas station.
According to the Associated Press, they could potentially face punishment under USA Swimming’s code of conduct. But it is not clear if the swimmers would face criminal charges, though police said the athletes could be charged with destruction of property, falsely reporting a crime or both.
Smith said of the incident, “All of them are my good friends. Two of them are my age. I’m not going to pass judgment on them just because we’re all human.”
Meanwhile, Smith’s parents have supported her every step of the way on her journey to the Olympics.
“I said if I can just watch her walk out that first day I’ll have succeeded in my job, which is to get her to the pool,” Leah’s father, Dan Smith, said.
“If I get to go to Tokyo to go watch her in the Olympics again, I would certainly be very happy to do so,” Leah’s sister, Aileen Smith, said.
That’s a goal Leah plans on setting for herself.
“I’m definitely going to train for another Olympics. I think that when you go to the meet it just makes you like hungry for more,” Smith said.
She heads back to college on Wednesday. She’s going into her senior year at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. She says it’s a matter of time before she has to start training for her college meets, which start in October.
As for Leah the pup; she will be available for adoption on Saturday, Aug. 20.
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