To the victors (as well as historic third-place finishers) go the spoils. For Emma Coburn, that meant the opportunity to meet a legendary figure in sports broadcasting.
It has been a little more than two weeks since Coburn, a former Colorado Buffaloes track All-American, became the first U.S. woman to medal in the steeplechase, bringing a bronze medal back from Rio.
Beyond sharing the experience of a lifetime with her family and friends, the biggest perk Coburn experienced in the immediate aftermath was getting interviewed by Al Michaels for NBC.
"I didn't expect to be as star-struck, but I was really excited to meet him. That was a fun moment," Coburn said. "But mainly having my friends and family there. My boyfriend Joe, his whole family came. My whole family came. To just have a couple days after my race to celebrate with my friends and family, that was probably the best part outside the race."
Coburn finished third in Zurich during a Diamond League meet on Friday and finally returned to the United States to compete in the New Balance 5th Avenue Mile on Saturday. Coburn placed ninth in the race, while fellow CU alumna Jenny Simpson won for a fifth time. Since Coburn's triumph in Rio, she already has placed second at a Diamond League meet in Paris, turning in a time that was the second-best personal mark of her career and trailed only the American record-mark of 9 minutes, 7.63 seconds she posted at the Olympics.
Soon, though, Coburn hopes to bring her medal back to CU and her hometown of Crested Butte to properly celebrate her monumental achievement.
"I hope to go to Crested Butte in the first couple weeks that I'm home. I haven't totally planned my schedule yet," Coburn said. "I hope to do some things at the university to share the medal with people there who helped me. I hope to spend some time in Colorado and maybe take a little vacation down the line a Crested Butte trip will happen. I can't wait to go home and show everyone there what we all were able to do."
Coburn has been quick to credit the training provided by CU track and cross country head coach Mark Wetmore and assistant Heather Burroughs for ultimately leading her to an Olympic medals podium. She expects that relationship to continue as she eventually sets her sights on collecting more Olympic jewelry.
"I envision myself training for 2020 and hopefully 2024," Coburn said. "I had that game plan before Rio, but earning a medal definitely makes me want to earn more medals, and earn silver or gold and meet or exceed what I did at Rio. I was already pretty motivated before Rio even happened to make as many Olympic teams as I could."