Inevitably, someone wants to touch it. And let's face it: How many of us mortals have ever touched an Olympic gold medal?
"Once you get the medal in your hand, it's all worth it," said McCorory, who ran the third leg of the United States' 4x400 relay team. "You forget all the days where you fell on the track or you didn't want to do it. You forget everything. It makes it all worth it."
So did a Thursday afternoon celebration at
McCorory and Wells, who missed each other by a year at HU, have been on something of a victory tour since London. Their hometowns want to show their pride and appreciation. Kids and grown ups alike want autographs and pictures.
McCorory led the pledge of allegiance at Norfolk State — a Pirate being honored by the Spartans? — when
On Sept. 8, she attended a golf tournament at Kingsmill in the afternoon and a
Wells visited three schools in the Richmond area on Thursday before driving to Hampton for the 3 p.m. ceremony.
"Every time my jaw dropped with how far the kids went," she said. "They made posters. One middle school made up a whole dance and a song. It was crazy. It means the world to me.
"It's a weird feeling, because I remember when I was in high school and I went to see Gail Devers speak. To think now I'm like that for somebody else, it's crazy. To hear the kids tell me, 'You're such an inspiration,' that's so crazy!"
Everyone wants to know what the feeling is like. For both, there was some initial disbelief — as in, this is too good to be true.
"I looked up and I saw Sally (Pearson of Australia, who won gold) and I saw Dawn (Harper of the U.S., who took silver) and said, 'OK, let's do some math. One, two, three … that means bronze,'" Wells said. "I was just so excited, but I didn't want to be too excited until I saw my name on the board just because you never know with track."
McCorory's moment came when she woke up the next day. Did I dream this?
"It was very surreal," McCorory said. "I had to keep checking to make sure the medal was mine and make sure nobody would come get it."
Nearly 12 weeks later, it's all pride.
"It's indescribable," McCorory said. "The only feeling going through your mind is, 'Man, I finally did it.' It's awesome. It's so worth it."
Wells is particularly proud of the fact that she and McCorory are from an HBCU and not one of the big-name track programs.
"Coming from Hampton University made me so proud because it shows you don't have to be from a big SEC school with all the money and big budgets," Wells said. "Our HBCU has way more heart. Francena and I had that blue and white through our hearts."
Both have taken the last two months off — well, aside from public appearances — and will resume training Monday. The next biggie is the world championships in Moscow in August.
It's four years off, but it's never too early to think about the 2016 games in Rio de Janeiro? McCorory will be only 27, so you know she hopes to be there. How about Wells, who will be 34?