The Olympic Games in London recently came to an end, but the victory celebrations for Team USA are just beginning. The red carpet was rolled out today for four-time Olympian, three-time gold medalist and Jersey Girl Christie Rampone. Six hundred of fans gathered at the Jersey Shore University Medical Center to meet the soccer star.
“Jersey definitely has paved the way to making me on top of the world right now,” said Rampone. “I just loved the environment of being in Jersey and I loved the competitive edge, always pushing to be better.”
Rampone grew up in Point Pleasant. She attended Monmouth University on a basketball scholarship. She says the school was her first choice because she had the opportunity to play multiple sports there. Now the 37-year-old mother of two is back home in Manasquan after winning the gold medal in London.
“When the final was so blue and you know that you won and we’re getting a gold medal put around our neck, it’s just unbelievable,” Rampone said. “When you look at some of the photos you even forget what you were doing because you are so excited, you want to celebrate with everybody, hugs, kisses, smiles.”
The National Team veteran says the London Games meant even more than other Olympic competitions.
“Each one is special in their own way, but this one maybe being my last and most likely my last, it was unbelievable, you almost here a feeling silence because you’re taking it all it in,” Rampone said.
And now she’s sharing the experience — and the medal — with aspiring young soccer players like 11-year-old Sofia Giamanco.
“I think Christie did a really good job in the Olympics and I want to be just like her,” Giamanco said.
“I love being a role model because I know growing up I didn’t have a lot of female athletes to look up to, to aspire to be and to be able to be here in Jersey, I mean there are four Jersey girls on the Olympic team. To be a part of that and to win a gold medal and to come back, especially here today,” Rampone said. “I’m there to inspire. You know I started at the same age. I started playing soccer at 5 at the rec center just like everybody else does.”
As for what the future holds for Rampone, she says she’s not ready to give up soccer, adding that she felt great during the Olympics and now she wants to focus on enjoying the moment.
Lauren Wanko reports from Neptune.