Aurora held an Olympic-sized sendoff Monday evening for a hometown hero who says it's never to late to make your dreams come true.
Anna Li earned an alternate spot on the U.S. Women's gymnastics team last week after she delivered a strong trials performance on the uneven bars.
"Ask all Aurorans and friends of Anna to join me as we recognize her contributions to our community, the sport of gymnastics, and our country, as I confer upon her the title of Aurora Hometown Hero," said Mayor Tom Weisner during Monday's ceremony.
The mayor was joined by District 204 Superintendent Dr. Kathryn Birkett and other local officials and supporters before she left for her final Olympic training in Texas.
The 23-year-old Waubonsie Valley High School graduate was the second-oldest female gymnast at the trials. Both of Li's parents are former gymnasts and both won Olympic medals for China back in 1984.
"It's really exciting," Li said after the competition, "because my parents have already been to the Olympics so they know what it takes to get there, and having them be there to guide me ... it's really great to have them be mentors, and I always wanted to be just like them."
Li posed with young gymnasts after the ceremony who hope to follow in her footsteps.