by Joseph W. Gex II, Staff Writer

United States Olympic finalist Cory McGee returned to her hometown last week for a brief visit with family and was honored by the City of Pass Christian and the Pass Christian High School for her exploits during the recent Tokyo Olympic Games. 
McGee was presented a proclamation by Pass Christian Mayor Jimmy Rafferty that named Saturday, August 21, Cory McGee Day in the city. 
Pass Christian High School presented McGee with her track and field jersey as a Lady Pirate framed along with the Pass Pirate Pride Award noting that “…hard word, dedication, and determination can lead to reaching one’s dreams…”
In addition to receiving the honors, McGee was also on hand at McDonald Stadium to.partner with Coastal Family Health Center for Wellness event promoting vaccinations for COVID-19.
McGee commented, “We have had an amazing crowd today. It has been a steady stream of people, young and old. When I returned to Colorado Springs following the Olympics, I could only think about getting back home to Pass Christian. It has always been a special place for me since I left. It is the one place I call home. It is a place I can relax and recuperate. This is a bug part of my pride in Pass Christian. This has helped me make it through my training.”
McGee finished 12th in the Olympic finals of the women’s 1500m run which was the fastest race if its length in history.
However, McGee was injured in the semifinals and competed in the finals injured. She explained, “I have been doing some exercises and other things. I do not have any pain now and just resting. I will begin my training in October to get ready for the indoor season that begins in January.”
In fact, McGee had not run at all since the Olympic finals almost three weeks ago, until Saturday. She took to the track twice on Saturday to run a lap with some younger children and then hit the track again to run with the Our Lady Academy Cross Country team that came out to meet the Olympian.
Coastal Family Health Center said they vaccinated close to 50 people on Saturday. Marcie Walton of Coastal Family Health Center stated, “We have had a terrific crowd all day to come out and meet our Olympian. And, for Cory McGee to take time out of her busy schedule and help promote this Wellness event with us just shows her commitment to Wellness and her community.”
Pass Christian Mayor Jimmy Rafferty added, “Today has been a great day for the city. Our Olympian came home. We have a great crowd out here to welcome her. And, she has been so willing to promote vaccinations which shows just how special of a person she is. We respect people’s choice about the vaccine but we also want to promote the importance of it. We have had great support from the city, the school district, Coastal Family Health, and other sponsors like Shaggy’s, The Blind Tiger, The Butcher Shop, Cat Island Coffee House, and Bacchus, as well as several different churches of many denominations that we reached out to. This has really been a fine day.”
McGee ended, “I head back to Colorado next week for more rehab and rest. For so long , about 20 years, the only thing I have thought about is reaching the Olympics. And, well, I reached the finals of the event. It is nice to be able to sit back, relax, and just chill out for a bit right now. I am an Olympian, hard to believe. I have a big ‘Thank You’ to everyone for their support over this incredible journey to the Olympics. If a girl from Pass Christian can make it to the Olympics, anyone can do it.”
McGee plans to return to Pass Christian soon for a longer stay before her training restarts for the next season. On Saturday, McGee made another first in her hometown. The laps she took with the young people and the OLA Cross Country team were the first laps she has made since the Olympic finals. 
As McGee looks ahead to the beginning of her training again, one thing is for certain – McGee’s eyes and thoughts are squarely on the city of Paris and the 2024 Olympics. 
(Photos submitted by Joseph W. Gex II/The Gazebo Gazette)