A long commute home after several weeks of gruelling competition meant being welcomed home by family, friends and fans was even more special for the Olympic athletes that landed in Calgary.
Signs, flags, camera flashes and even some tears welcomed the almost 50 Team Canada Olympians as they arrived at YYC Calgary International Airport on Monday from South Korea.
Some of the athletes included bobsledder Kaillie Humphries, ski cross racer Brady Leman and curler John Morris, who made history for winning gold in mixed doubles with partner Kaitlyn Lawes.
“The reception here in Calgary is incredible. It’s amazing how many people are out here just supporting us and welcoming us home,” bronze medal luge winner and Calgary native Alex Gough said.
Team Canada set a record at the Pyeongchang Games, winning 29 medals, the most ever won by the country’s top athletes at a Winter Olympic Games.
“It was an amazing Olympics and I think Team Canada really carried that momentum start to finish, and it was something really special,” luger Sam Edny said.
Many of the winter athletes have spent countless hours training and honing their skills at Calgary’s WinSport facility, so bringing home the medals and the pride brought that legacy full circle.
“We know a little bit of what kind of impact that’s made and we know our organization and staff have had inquiries about, ‘How do we get our kids into the sport?’ which is incredible,” Gough said. “The most rewarding part about this is inspiring a new generation.”
“There’s a lot of pride,” Humphries said. “Every athlete is definitely going to feel pride to a huge degree every time you put that maple leaf on.
“But then every time you get to come back to the city where you train, where you put in all of those hours of the blood, sweat and tears, you have your little nostalgic moment because life changes now.”
Olympians from across the country were enthusiastically welcomed back to cities all across Canada on Monday, including Katelyn Osmond, who returned to Edmonton, and Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, who arrived in London, Ont.
WATCH: A large crowd in London, Ont. sang “O Canada” as Olympians Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir arrived home after the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympic Games.
The athletes had been travelling for almost 24 hours when they landed in Calgary.