By Adam Brady
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A Golden Homecoming

Tuesday, 08.14.2012 / 8:41 AM PT
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Ducks Off the Ice by Adam Brady
A Golden Homecoming

There are countless special moments that make this job fun, but the best ones are those that come when you least expect it.

I'll admit that coming into these London Olympics, women's water polo was not among the sports I was expecting to ardently follow. But here I was last night, joining a group of about 50 people (which included a giant duck) at John Wayne Airport to welcome home gold medal-winning water polo player Courtney Mathewson.

Here's how it all came about:

A couple of weeks ago, we got word from a fan on Twitter that during the NBC telecast of the USA-Spain game on August 1, play-by-play announcer Doc Emrick (who happens to be a legendary hockey announcer) reported that Team USA attacker Courtney Mathewson was a huge Ducks fan who was sporting the team's gear around the Olympic Village. We learned Courtney goes to several games a year with her husband Chris Morinello and his family, who have been season ticket holders since '93.

We attempted to get ahold of Mathewson through her Twitter account (I also messaged Chris on Facebook) to see if we might get a ahold of a picture. Not long afterward, she emailed me this photo, which could hardly have been more perfect.



We posted the photo on Facebook and Twitter, which got a great reaction from Ducks fans. Needless to say, we followed the progress of Courtney and the U.S. team, all the way through their triumph over Spain in the championship game last week, as they captured the first women's water polo gold medal in U.S. history.

Over the weekend, Chris messaged me to let me know they were planning a homecoming for Courtney at John Wayne Airport on Monday night and asked (half-jokingly) if Wild Wing could be there. Of course, we jumped at the chance, and we got Wild Wing to join the large group of friends and family (not to mention more than a few curious onlookers) for the surprise homecoming. The group could hardly have been more enthusiastic, making signs for the occasion, including the letters C-O-U-R-T-N-E-Y, and chanting "USA! USA!" as she came down the escalator to our waiting area.

The look on a tired Courtney's face (she had endured 14 hours of flying from London to Chicago to OC) was priceless, especially when she saw Wild Wing, who presented her with the Ducks jersey with MATHEWSON and her number 7 on the back.

Below is one of the great photos we got of the moment, and click here to see the rest.



Meanwhile, later last night I got this tweet from a gold medalist that pretty much made my summer: 


Finally, we got the whole scene on video, which you can watch below. We left out the part in which Courtney reveals that one of the first things she can't wait to do after getting home is eat at Chipotle.

Thank you, once again, to Courtney for being so gracious and representing Ducks fans in one of the cooler ways imaginable. Can't wait to see her again, this time wearing that jersey at Honda Center.


SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
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STANDINGS

WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 z - ANA 82 51 24 7 236 226 109
2 y - STL 82 51 24 7 248 201 109
3 x - NSH 82 47 25 10 232 208 104
4 x - CHI 82 48 28 6 229 189 102
5 x - VAN 82 48 29 5 242 222 101
6 x - MIN 82 46 28 8 231 201 100
7 x - WPG 82 43 26 13 230 210 99
8 x - CGY 82 45 30 7 241 216 97
9 LAK 82 40 27 15 220 205 95
10 DAL 82 41 31 10 261 260 92
11 COL 82 39 31 12 219 227 90
12 SJS 82 40 33 9 228 232 89
13 EDM 82 24 44 14 198 283 62
14 ARI 82 24 50 8 170 272 56

STATS

2014-2015 PLAYOFFS
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
C. Perry 4 3 4 3 7
J. Silfverberg 4 2 4 5 6
R. Kesler 4 3 2 2 5
S. Vatanen 4 2 3 4 5
R. Getzlaf 4 1 3 3 4
A. Cogliano 4 1 3 4 4
P. Maroon 4 1 2 2 3
H. Lindholm 4 0 3 1 3
C. Fowler 4 1 1 2 2
S. Despres 4 0 2 1 2
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
F. Andersen 4 0 0 .924 2.20

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