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Olympian Erin Hamlin welcomed home after historic performance

A small group of family and friends made the arrivals lounge at the Syracuse airport sound more like the bottom on the Olympic luge track Thursday evening. They were welcoming home Remsen, N.Y. native and Olympic medalist Erin Hamlin.

Hamlin became the first American to ever medal in singles luge when she slid to bronze at the Sochi Winter Games this month.

Credit Ryan Delaney / WRVO
Erin Hamlin, an Olympic medalist in luge, at her arrival in Syracuse.

"It's a different world for her right now," her mother, Eileen Hamlin, said.

As Hamlin appeared, chants of "U-S-A!" and cowbells rang out. There were plenty of hugs, photos and pointing at the bronze medal around her neck. 

"I had no doubt in my mind that everyone at home would do a good job to welcome me back pretty extravagantly and it’s nice to come home," she said, calling the welcome "awesome."

Hamlin said after her run that everything felt surreal. She said Thursday that hasn't changed much, but being home will help.

"It’s pretty crazy. I never really set out in the sport to make history or do anything too crazy," she said. "I just wanted to do well and go fast and I put it all together at the right time."

Hamlin said she hopes her performance will bring more attention to the sport of luge. 

After leaving the airport, Hamlin traveled through several towns before a parade in Remsen.