Rio Water Polo star Ashleigh Johnson greeted fans at Miami International Airport Tuesday, many excited to take photos with an Olympic Gold Medalist.
"It's really inspiring to see how many people watched us, and watched me play. And it's really cool to have this kind of support from Miami," she said.
The water polo goalie from Redland helped Team USA with an impressive 12-5 win against Italy in the finals. Johnson is the only non-Californian on her team.
"That moment was indescribable because it was so much hard work and effort that we put into that game and into the tournament," Johnson said.
Johnson also made history as the first black woman to represent the United States in water polo at the Olympics.
"It's really cool to be able to be someone that little girls and boys can look up to, in your sport and just break open the barrier a little bit," she said.
The athlete admits she hates swimming, although she recognizes swimming led her to what she calls a fun alternative. And as for what she plans to do with that gold medal, Johnson says she's giving it to her mom so she can decide where to put it.
"She's the one who pushed me and motivated me to do this whole thing, and just motivated me as an athlete and I just want to say thank you to her," Johnson said.
Johnson will now go back to Princeton, but she's not sure yet about Tokyo in 2020.