(FOX19) - A Tri-State athlete is making his country proud, bringing home a bronze medal from the Olympics in Sochi.
Nick Goepper has called Perfect North Slopes home since the age of 5. It was a fitting venue for the Lawrenceburg, Ind. community to come out and cheer on their native son during a watch party Thursday night.
"It's very cool that he grew up here. He skied here, and now he's an Olympian. Of course, we're very proud of him," said Katie Bonomini, who works at Perfect North Slopes.
That pride is evident if you drive the streets of Lawrenceburg, too. Sign after sign, flashing words of congratulations to Goepper after his tremendous showing in his first Olympics.
"I'm just proud of him that he made it. I'm so unbelievably proud because watching him talk about it and put it into action to actually get there, it's just amazing," said Anthony Ohlhaut, one of Goepper's best friends.
He and his brother, Nick, have spent time on the slopes with Goepper. It's a friendship that started years ago. It's one they say was struck up around the age of 8 at a local pool.
"We saw him jumping off the side of the pool doing cannonballs. We were like, 'Oh my gosh, that dude's just like us! He's jumping! Let's go ask him if we can jump with him,' said Nick Ohlhaut, one of Goepper's best friends.
They wanted to watch Nick compete live, so a 4:30 AM wake-up call it was on Thursday, all to see their best friend bring home a medal.
"To me, it's kind of humbling seeing him come from nothing and expand to the world stage. It's unreal," said Anthony Ohlhaut.
When Goepper returns from Sochi, the three of them will go back to being best friends like they've never skipped a beat. He'll still be an Olympian, but to this group, he's still a regular guy.
"He stays humble. He just loves his hometown, and loves being normal. I don't think he'll ever lose that," Nick Ohlhaut told FOX19.
Goepper's excitement to come back home is evident on his Twitter feed. Yesterday he posted, "INDIANA! The bronze is coming back home. See ya soon!"