By Bryan Boggiano
An Olympian with ties to Coral Springs unlocked another career achievement Wednesday.
Fratus won his first medal, a bronze, in the 50-meter freestyle at the Tokyo Olympics. He also became the oldest competitor to receive the first medal.
Earlier in his Olympic career, Fratus finished fourth in the 50-meter freestyle in 2012 and sixth in 2016. He also competed in the Pan American Games, where he won five gold medals and two silver.
Commissioner Shawn Cerra, who introduced Fratus, said receiving the key to the city is a rare honor.
In his acceptance speech, Fratus thanked everybody who helped him along the way, including his coaches, the staff at the aquatic complex, and his wife. He also thanked the commission for the honor.
“Being recognized by this community here today for something I worked my entire life for is a humbling and touching experience, and I’m thankful for that,” he said in his speech.
He hopes to follow in the footsteps of other Olympians who trained at the aquatic complex, including Dara Torres, whom he said inspired him.
But besides following in others’ footsteps, he hopes to be a source of inspiration for young athletes and future Olympians.
The native Brazilian also spoke about his experience of coming to the United States from Brazil to achieve his dreams.
“As an immigrant who chose to bring all my hopes, dreams, and hard work to this country, this moment right here, right now, is the real representation of the American dream,” Fratus said. “Me and my family feel privileged to call South Florida and Coral Springs home, and I can certainly say that you can count on us to make this beautiful community thrive.”
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