Sioux City community gives local Olympian a proper send-off - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

Sioux City community gives local Olympian a proper send-off


One of Sioux City's very own is an Olympian.

"It's really exciting to have one of your former athletes go this far," said East High School Track Coach Rick Clarahan.

"When she got on the team, it's just. You just go nuts," said Shelby Houlihan's aunt, Amy McManamy. 

And it was clear she would be from the start. 

"I always said that girl will definitely run in the Olympics some day," said East High School teammate Kilee Watson.

"We always made jokes, 'We're all going to be Olympians. Just kidding. Just Shelby'," said East High School teammate Reyna Ebner.

Shelby Houlihan hasn't been back in town since she began her Olympic training, so the Sioux City community is coming to her.

"All the signs you see too, all the signs around Sioux City that say, 'Good luck, Shelb',' 'Go, Rio,' It's unbelievable how much support she's getting. It's great," said Ebner.

The local community came together at Houlihan's old high school track at East High to give her a proper send-off.

"She's just not used to people paying that much attention to her, so she's going to think it's pretty cool," said Clarahan. 

Houlihan is the first female athlete from the community to ever qualify for the Olympics.

She finished second in the Trials in early July, and in two weeks she'll run 5,000 meters for the gold. 

"It's a championship race and they tend to run slow," said Clarahan. "They're going to run right into her hands if they do that."

Her hometown fans hope all their support will give Houlihan the confidence to bring home a medal.

But if the past is any indication, she won't need the added boost.

"She's always calm. She went in, she knew what she was going to do," said Clarahan. "And she just carried out her plan."

The Houlihan gang all rocked the Raiders' black and orange on Tuesday night.

But in a couple weeks, you can bet they'll be sporting their red, white, and blue.

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