What better way to celebrate a couple of unprecedented athletic achievements by two former Colorado Buffaloes than at a picture-perfect day at Folsom Field?

The long and hectic victory lap for Olympians Emma Coburn and Jenny Simpson culminated Saturday with an appearance before a crowd eager to show their appreciation for the bronze medals brought home by the former CU All-Americans.

Coburn, who in August became the first American female to win an Olympic medal in the steeplechase, and Simpson, who did the same in the 1,500-meter run, showed off their bronze medals on the field after the first quarter of the Buffs' football game against Oregon State.

The home crowd lauded the duo with a standing ovation and started a chant of "U-S-A!"

"This feels like the perfect place to celebrate, because CU nation is where we belong," Simpson said. "To share this experience and really let everyone have that moment to celebrate with us, it's been the most fun event since I've come home."

Coburn, a Crested Butte native, was joined on the field by the grandfather who bought her first child-sized CU cheerleader outfit when she was a youngster.

Simpson and Coburn spent Saturday morning as the official starters at the cross country team's Rocky Mountain Shootout, and on Sunday the duo will throw out the first pitches at the final Rockies game of the season at Coors Field.


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"What's unique about the Olympics is that everyone gets it, everyone respects it, and everyone knows how important it is," Coburn said. "Getting that cheer, you just feel the genuine excitement from people and feel how proud they are of you. To be on the field with my grandpa, who is the reason I went to be a Buff, he loved it. Hearing those cheers, it was a unique experience."

Pat Rooney: rooneyp@dailycamera.com or twitter.com/prooney07