Highland Park Welcomes Jason Brown Home - NBC Chicago
Winter Olympics Sochi 2014

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Highland Park Welcomes Jason Brown Home

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    Hundreds of Brown's fans gathered at his alma mater to congratulate him on his performance in Sochi. (Published Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2014)

    Olympic bronze medal figure skater Jason Brown received a hero's welcome home Tuesday in Highland Park.

    Hundreds of his fans gathered at his alma mater, Highland Park High School, to congratulate him on his performance in Sochi.

    Highland Park's mayor gave Brown a key to the city, and the young skater received a standing ovation for the way he captured hearts all over the world.

    "It's amazing, and that's what's so crazy, if you had told me a year ago I'd be an Olympian I'd be like, 'No, that's not possible, 2018, 2018," Brown said.

    Brown spoke to the students about what he believes led to his success.

    "You're in the public eye when you go out to skate, so you have to go through the moments when you fail in front of people, you know, me and my coach look at it as a time to learn," Brown said.

    But the students and fellow skaters who've known Brown for years say it's his unmatched work ethic that drives him.

    "I've been skating with him since he was 5 years old, and to see him at the rink working incredibly hard, and then to see this actually come through and to see this year completely blow up and to see all of the success he's had ... it's so inspiring," senior Sara Harris said.

    Brown received his bronze medal in the team competition and placed ninth in the individual skate.

    Even his ponytail has its own Twitter account, an amazing feat for someone who not that long ago was just another student.

    "He was roaming these halls just last year, and now he's an Olympian, it's just incredible," said junior Sam Brief.