Hundreds of well-wishers made their way to the Eola Community Center in Aurora Monday to send-off local Olympic gymnast Anna Li in style. The Waubonsie Valley pep band provided music and chants of “U-S-A” could be heard throughout the night from those in attendance. Li earned a spot on the US national team as the final alternate at the Olympic trials in San Jose a little more than a week ago.
”When they called my name, I was just in shock and I was in my head I was yelling, ‘I did it! I did it!’” Li explained to the crowd eliciting a chorus of cheers.
The Marmion Academy and Bardwell Elementary cheerleaders showed off their tumbling skills at the rally, and community leaders offered their congratulations.
Aurora Mayor Tom Weisner proclaimed Li an “Aurora Hometown Hero” and announced that Governor Pat Quinn declared July 9, 2012 “Anna Li Day” statewide.
“It’s just not Anna’s accomplishment, it’s the accomplishment of everyone in this room,” said State Representative Darlene Senger (R-96th District). “We again want to say we’re very proud of you, we’ll be watching you (and) good luck with what you’re doing here.”
Other speakers included Indian Prairie School District 204 Superintendent Kathryn Birkett and Aurora 8th Ward Alderman Rick Mervine.
After the ceremony, Li was mobbed by fans and took time to sign plenty of autographs.
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