Prairie High School graduate won a silver medal with the United State Gymnastics Team
Cece Bruno brought a sign to hold up on the parade route Sunday.
The message: “You’re my hero Jordan.”
An 11-year-old gymnast from Portland, she wanted to return the favor to Jordan Chiles, who earlier this year sent a video message of support to Bruno.
It was Jordan Chiles Day in the city of Vancouver on Sunday. The Olympian from Vancouver received a key to the city.
Her fans got a memorable experience in downtown Vancouver, turning out by the hundreds to watch a parade featuring Chiles, her family, and friends. Many of the fans followed the parade to City Hall for a brief ceremony, then stuck around for autographs and more pictures during a meet-and-greet session.
“She did so great in the Olympics and, in general, this year,” Bruno said. “I just wanted to show my support for her.”
Earlier in the year, Bruno was on a flight back from the U.S. Gymnastics Championships and coincidentally sat next to Chiles’ grandmother. Contact information was exchanged. Bruno sent Jordan a message, wishing her good luck in her attempt to make the U.S. Olympic team.
Soon after Chiles did make the team, Chiles sent Bruno a video message saying, “Thank you for your support. I wish I could meet you.”
On Sunday, that was the plan. Bruno, her friend Diarra Mboup, and family members planned on walking the rest of the parade route to City Hall to get in line to meet Chiles.
“I wanted to come today to show my support for Jordan and show her that what she does means a lot,” Mboup said. “It’s inspiring lots of other girls to do gymnastics and pursue their dreams.”
The Prairie High School cheerleading squad and other students and staff were waiting along the parade route, as well. Chiles graduated from Prairie in 2019.
“Since Jordan went to Prairie and was such a big role model for so many people and cheerleaders, I think it’s important to support her and be there for her,” said Hannah Loyd, a captain with the cheerleading squad.
The mayor of Vancouver, Anne McEnerny-Ogle, greeted the parade in front of City Hall, then walked with Chiles to the outdoor ceremony.
The mayor noted Chiles’ accomplishments this past gymnastics season, culminating with a silver medal at the Tokyo Games as a member of the United States Gymnastics Team.
“She has made our city, our state, and our country proud by competing on the international stage and earning a place in Olympic history,” the mayor said.
Jordan took to the microphone, a bit surprised she was asked to speak. Like an elite gymnast, she nailed her presentation.
“I just want to say thank you to everybody,” she said as someone shouted “Love you!”
She broke in mid sentence to say, “Love you, too.”
“From Prairie High School all the way to Naydenov (Gymnastics), all the way to the kids in the cul de sac, I just want to say, you guys have always been with me and will forever be with me,” Chiles said.
“This is a huge thing. I never thought in my life I would be getting the key to the city, ever.”
She thanked her family, her friends, and her teachers.
“This is a huge thing, and I will forever be a Washingtonian,” Chiles said. “And I just want to say thank you and go Team USA.”
Chiles spent another 40 minutes or so in a meet-and-greet session. And for those who were still there when it was time to leave, she took a photo with the mayor and dozens of fans.
The city also has announced it will honor two other Olympians at a later date. Kara Winger, a Skyview graduate, just competed in her fourth Olympics in the javelin. And Yen Hoang, a graduate of Evergreen High School, is preparing to compete in the Paralympics.