INDIANAPOLIS- Friday, Pike Township threw a homecoming worthy of an Olympian for Pike Township High School alumna, Lynna Irby. It was fitting because the 21-year-old is not only an Olympian, but now a 2 time Olympic medalist.
During the Pike Township v. Carmel football game, the sprinter’s alma mater honored her during halftime with a new sign, bearing her state titles and Olympic wins. Among the esteemed guests was fellow alum, Governor Eric Holcomb, who was also celebrating his 35th class reunion.
FOX59 exclusively sat down with Irby again as she returned home adorned with a gold and bronze Olympic medal.
“Honestly, it has just set in probably this weekend,” Irby reflected. “It’s such a cool feeling. It kind of gives me goosebumps.”
Now that reality has sunk in, the track star says she’s enjoying the moment.
“It was so awesome stepping out for those bright lights; it was just like wow this is the moment. I’m competing for my country and I’m just ready to have a good time and put on a show.”
And she did, but the show almost didn’t happen.
After a qualifying, mix-gendered relay, Olympic officials disqualified Team USA after a handoff with Irby.
“When the official puts you out on the track, you’re not going to question– ‘Why are you putting me there?’ I’m just going out to the track and run the fastest I can run,” she detailed. “I asked myself how I messed that up, but looking back on it, I was young. I lived and I learned.”
USA Track and Field appealed the disqualification, which was later overturned.
That moment, as with others, tested her, but she says it didn’t break her.
“Never let anybody tell you, you can’t do something,” Irby advised. “Nothing’s impossible when you set your mind to it.”
Together, Irby and her teammates went onto the finals and the winner’s podium.
She tells me it won’t be her last time there, and her medals are good reminders to hit the track even faster for the Paris 2024 Olympics.
“I want to be a multiple-time Olympian and Olympic medalist, not just for relays, but for my individual event,” said Irby, who runs the 400 meter.
As she races toward new goals, her first competitive medals humble her.
The sprinter kept them out of sight in the garage of her childhood home.
Irby says that’s so she never got a big head– so she always knew she could achieve more.
Now that she has, these gold and the bronze medals get an upgrade into her office at her home in Florida.
“It’s going on the shelf,” she laughed.
A shelf that’s open for opportunity and new hardware.