Charlotte native, Olympic gold medalist Ricky Berens returns home

Credit: NewsChannel 36

Olympic gold medal swimmer Ricky Berens returned home from London Thursday Aug. 16, 2012.

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by MATT NOWACKI / WCNC.com

WCNC.com

Posted on August 17, 2012 at 5:51 AM

Updated Friday, Aug 17 at 6:04 AM

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Olympic gold medal swimmer Ricky Berens returned home from London Thursday night.

He was greeted by family and friends at Charlotte Douglas International Airport just after 8 p.m. The Olympian brought home the gold in the 4x200 freestyle relay and a silver in the 4x100 freestyle relay.

Thursday night, he said it felt good to be back in the Queen City.

“It’s great to be home, to be able to see my family,” Berens said. “At the Olympics I could only see them for a couple hours for the entire Olympics. So it’s great to come home to a supportive family. A happy family.”

London was Berens’ second go at the games. He also brought home some hardware from Beijing in 2008 -- winning gold in the 4x200 freestyle relay.

Berens said that during the London games he had more time to enjoy the Olympics.

“It’s been a dream come true times two. I went in 2008 which was incredible. I was a little kid on Christmas in 2008,” he said. “And this time around I really got to take things a little slower. I knew what to expect. I stopped to smell the roses and really took it all in.”

Now that he’s home, Berens said he plans to take it easy, enjoy his Olympic accomplishments and maybe take a well-deserved vacation.

After that, who knows? The 24-year-old swimmer has said he may retire from swimming to attend graduate school. But he won’t make a final decision for another few months.

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