WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – City of Wichita officials welcomed home Wichitan Nico Hernandez, a boxer and bronze medal winner at the Rio Olympic Games.
Hernandez returned home Tuesday morning, to a large crowd at Eisenhower National Airport. Many family members and friends gathered at the event.
Nine-year old Anthony Garcia came out to welcome Nico home, hoping to get a glimpse of the man who got him interested in boxing.
“How excited are you to see Nico? So, so excited,” said Garcia.
For family members, like Ruben Chavez, it was a chance to welcome his cousin home.
“We’re so proud of him, he’s done an excellent job, the whole city is proud of him, the state, the whole country,” said Chavez.
Nico’s plane arrived around 10:45 a.m., and it was greeted with a water salute.
Once Nico got to the gate, he was greeted with hugs and smiles from his parents and siblings.
“I just smiled, smiled and gave them a big hugs, I haven’t seen them in a while, my brothers and sisters, went and gave them hugs,” said Hernandez.
From there, Nico made his way through the airport, shaking hands, taking pictures and even receiving gifts from his fans.
Several city officials, including Mayor Jeff Longwell and many city council members were there to offer their support for Nico.
“I feel great, like, all my city is doing this all for me, so just happy that everybody has my back,” said Hernandez.
Nico spoke to his family and friends, thanking them for coming out, before heading down to give out autographs and hugs.
The first person to hug Nico, as he was getting off the escalator, was his aunt, Sonia Kelley.
“I said I love you. I’m proud of you. Left it at that and just cried. I just cried,” said Kelley.
As for what’s next for Nico, he says he’ll take a break right now to enjoy time with his family and friends, before deciding if he’ll pursue a career in pro boxing.
For those who missed out on the festivities Tuesday, they’ll have another chance this weekend to celebrate Nico’s Olympic feat.
A parade is scheduled for 10 a.m. on Saturday, Aug. 27, starting at 21st and Broadway at Nomar International Market and ending at 13th and Waco near North High School, where Hernandez is a 2014 graduate. A community celebration will be held in the high school gymnasium.
“We are excited about Nico’s success at the Olympics and his future,” said Council Member Janet Miller, who represents District VI, which includes the parade route. “We want to give the community an opportunity to come together to celebrate Nico and thank him for representing the United States and Wichita at the Rio Olympics.”
Following is a schedule of the events:
- Aug. 27, 10 a.m. – Celebratory Parade, from 21st and Broadway to 13th and Waco (the parade route will start at Nomar Square, head west to Waco, turn south to end at 13th street).
- Aug. 27, 11 a.m. – Community Celebration at North High School.