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Marblehead officials planning ceremony to honor Olympic gold-medalist Kayla Harrison

Posted by Ryan Mooney  August 14, 2012 10:52 AM

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The Marblehead Forever Committee will meet tomorrow evening at Town Hall to discuss plans for a celebration to welcome home Olympic Judo gold-medalist Kayla Harrison, and honor two other athletes with ties to the town.

Nothing has been set in stone just yet, but according to Kyle Wiley - administrative aide for the Marblehead Selectmen, and a member of the Marblehead Forever Committee - the Selectmen voted last week to hold a celebration, and charged the committee with drawing up plans.

Wiley hopes to have tentative plans in place after Wednesday's meeting.

The small town was well represented in London, with three athletes connected to Marblehead competing in the 30th Games of the Olympiad.

Sara Hendershot, a rower who lists her hometown as West Simsbury, Connecticut, and her current residence as Princeton, New Jersey, on the U.S. Rowing website, spent 13 years of her childhood in Marblehead. Hendershot and rowing partner Sarah Zelenka narrowly missed the medal stand, finishing in fourth place in the women's pair with a time of 7:30.39, just .20 seconds behind the third-place team from New Zealand.

Former Marblehead High track star Shalane Flanagan - listed on the U.S. Track and Field website as a resident of Portland, Oregon - took 10th place in the women's marathon event, after taking home a bronze medal in the 10,000-meter in Beijing four years ago.

But it was current Marblehead resident Harrison who stole the show by defeating England's Gemma Gibbons to bring the U.S. its first Judo gold medal in Olympic history.

Wiley believes that Harrison is scheduled to return from London today or Wednesday. There is no word on whether Hendershot or Flanagan will attend the ceremony.

The town of Needham is planning a parade for its hometown medal winner, gold medal gymnast Aly Raisman.

Ryan Mooney can be reached at globe.mooney@yahoo.com. Follow him on Twitter @mooney_ryan.

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