Mikaela Jenkins tours the aquatic center, gets a surprise

Nov 23, 2021

Credit Steve Burger / WNIN

Back home from college for the Thanksgiving break, the two-time Paralympic gold medalist got a tour of the new Deaconess Aquatic Center.

Just to the left of the center's main entrance, a large mural was dedicated Tuesday outlining Jenkins' swimming career that culminates with her two gold medals at the Tokyo Paralympic Games this past summer.

The mural was supposed to be surprised- and it worked.

Credit Steve Burger / WNIN

At first, Jenkins didn't realize the entire wall was about her. When the realization hit, she exclaimed, "Oh my gosh! I was just focused on this little part here."

Following the tour, there was a presentation with clips played on the large screen in the competitive pool area. The final clip was Jenkins' gold medal performance in the 100 meter butterfly race.

Afterward, Jenkins said, "I didn't expect this at all. To receive the key to the city, to have my friends and family here, and just this honor of the presentation and having all my friends and family telling me how proud they were. It's something I'll remember of the rest of my life."

Jenkins lets a young fan hold one of her gold medals.
Credit Steve Burger / WNIN

The presentation over, Jenkins returned to what she loves best about the fame that two gold medals brings- sharing those medals with young swimmers, letting them wear the medals and take pictures so they can dream, as she once did, about winning their own.