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New York mayor honors returning Olympians
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10:57, September 09, 2008

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and New York City Sports Commissioner Kenneth J. Podziba on Monday welcomed home the city's returning Olympians and presented each of them with a crystal apple at a ceremony in City Hall Park.

The U.S. Olympic team included 10 athletes from New York City, nine of whom attended the ceremony, including silver medal-winning fencers Erinn Smart (women's foil team) and Wang Chen (table tennis), according to a report available on

The mayor also presented crystal apples to fencing team captain and coaches and boxing coaches.

"No city in the world epitomizes the spirit and diversity of the Olympic Games like New York does, and the athletes from the five boroughs (of the city) who competed in Beijing are consummate New Yorkers," Mayor Bloomberg was cited as saying.

"The success of these athletes at the Beijing Olympics has brought great pride to New York City and we are glad to give them a hero's welcome upon their return," Commissioner Podziba was quoted as saying.

The six medals won by the 2008 U.S. fencers is the most ever by a U.S. team at the Olympics. Neither the men's nor women's teams were expected to win medals at the Games, but both exceeded expectations, upsetting several traditionally stronger nations, by winning silver, according to the report.

Silver Medalist Emily Cross, a member of the women's fencing team, first competed in the sport at age 11. She is a graduate of Brearley High School in Manhattan and currently a student at Harvard University.

Wang Chen, 34, returned to her native Beijing to compete in table tennis. She was a member of the Chinese team throughout the 1990s, but the 2008 Games marked the first time she competed in the Olympics, the report said.

Source: Xinhua

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