PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — 800 meter bronze medalist Raevyn Rogers didn’t want to wear her Olympic medal on the plane back from her first Olympics. But mom, said she had to.
“I’m the type of person like, ‘if you know you know,’” Rogers explained at Portland International Airport, saying she’d worn the medal for awhile at the airport but then took it off. “But my mom was like, ‘no, you need to wear it! You need to keep it on!’”
Whether a mother’s pride, or a mother’s intuition, Rogers is glad she listened to mom’s advice. She says some of her sweetest memories have come on the way home, watching the hardware around her neck connect her to the fans who rooted her on from a continent away.
“She made a good point,” Rogers said of her mom’s convincing argument. “She’s like, ‘not everyone has the opportunity all the time to even hold the medal.’ So I let people hold it, they can feel how heavy it is you know because this was a big thing, this was me representing everyone else.”
Walking through the Portland airport, on the way to her interview for this story, Rogers said she was stopped by a woman who asked if the medal was what she thought it was.
“I was like, yeah,” Rogers said, smiling under her mask. ‘She was like, oh my gosh can I take a picture? So we took pictures and she was so excited. The flight attendants, and just people seeing it in person or wanting to hold it and then are able to see my performance and what I did to get this medal, those are the memories that kind of last and it made me glad I went for the bronze.”
Rogers won her first Olympic medal on the morning of her mom’s birthday, who was watching back in her hometown of Houston, Texas.
“I was just happy I got to start her day off, she was so excited.”
Rogers though, didn’t make it easy on her mother.
“She told me I gave her a heart attack,” Rogers said with a laugh.
With Team USA’s Athing Mu an essential lock for gold, and Great Britian’s Keely Hodgkinson right on her heels, Rogers said it was late in the race, with about 10 meters left, she realized she still had a chance to podium.
“It just all came at this one split second moment where it was like, hey I could actually go for third and you know, third means a medal, and that’s something to bring back home. So there was all these thoughts going and like, I’m still running. At this split second, I’m able to, thank God, make that adjustment as soon as I realized it and just go for the bronze.”
Rogers says the bronze medal will go straight to her grandma’s house, just like all the rest of her hardware, including her Bowerman Trophy. The former Oregon Duck says her grandma plans on using the bronze medal as a necklace for the Bowerman.
But before it goes to grandma, Rogers says some of the sweetest memories have come from following her mother’s advice and wearing her medal proud, full of grace, for everyone to see.
“Some people are not fully able to understand until they hold it, and I’m like yeah hold it because I want to create that bridge between me and people who are watching.”