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Reno welcomes home Olympic medalist Krysta Palmer, who gets top honor from city

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Fans gather at Reno-Tahoe Airport to welcome home Krysta Palmer & Jian Li You

From a water salute as her plane pulled up to the gates at the Reno-Tahoe International Airport to Packfetti flying around the terminal, it was a celebration unlike any other as Olympic bronze medalist Krysta Palmer and her coach, Jian Li You, returned from Tokyo.

Palmer became the first individual American diver to win an Olympic medal since Laura Wilkinson won gold in 2000. Palmer also was the first U.S. diver to win an individual 3-meter springboard medal since 1988 when he took bronze in that event Saturday.

The City of Reno and Mayor Hillary Schieve named August 3, 2021 Krysta Palmer Day after she became the first in Wolf Pack diver to win an Olympic medal and the third in the school history in any sport to do so.

"I think the coolest part about it is I represent such a small town," Palmer said. "I went to Douglas High School and I represent Gardnerville, Minden, Carson and now Reno and really the whole state of Nevada, so to make some history and come back with an Olympic medal and represent the University of Nevada, Reno, too, on the international stage at an Olympic Games is really truly an honor. It means a lot to me. It's really been a cool journey."

Palmer finished 15th out of 27 divers in the 3-meter prelims before placing fifth in the semifinals. She saved her best for last, scoring 343.75 points in the finals behind only Chinese divers Shi Tingmao (383.50) and Han Wang (348.75), who won gold and bronze, respectively.

"I definitely had different mentalities going into every single list," Palmer said. "Prelims is always a little bit nerve-racking because you really just want to make it past and make it into semifinals. So prelims was a little bit shaky for me because it felt like the most pressure. But I got through that list and I made it into semifinals. I knew from there everything was just a bonus. I remembered my biggest thing coming into semifinals was just to smile, and that's what helps me relax and do my best.

"Coming into finals, I knew that I hadn't done the best list possible in semifinals. I really just wanted to go out there, smile, have fun, I made it into finals in my first Olympic Games, and that was already an accomplishment. So going into finals, I think I just really didn't have so much pressure because I didn't have any expectations. I feel just truly blessed. I mean, I walked into it and had fun, and I know this may not be my peak potential as well. Coming out with a medal is just unbelievable to me."

Palmer said one of the best parts of Tuesday's celebration was seeing her closest family members greet her at the gates.

"Walking off the plane and my closest family members right there at the gate," she said. "I give a lot of thanks to the Reno-Tahoe Airport to just allow my closest family members to be there. That was really cool because I can share this experience and this accomplishment with them first. That's truly what's special to me because they're my village, so to share it with them, that's super, super special."

You, who became the first female to represent Team USA Diving in an Olympic games, said this is a moment she's been waiting for since she moved to America from China in 1995.

"I wanted to see someone that can beat Chinese and that's my goal all along since day one, and she did it," You said. "I'm really proud of her, and that's our dream. It's our dream. We're a team."

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