Steffens Sisters Celebrate Gold Medal With Danville

Danville had a chance to say thanks to the gold medal-winning Steffens sisters and Maggie and Jessica said thanks to their home town on Saturday.

Just over two weeks ago, Maggie and Jessica Steffens and the rest of the United States women's water polo team stood with their gold medals draped around their necks and listened to the national anthem.

On Saturday evening, the Steffens sisters again listened to the Star-Spangled Banner with their gold medals. But this time, instead of being in London, they were with family and friends in the town they call home.

"The last time I heard the national anthem we were all on the podium," Jessica said in her speech at in front of hundreds. "That was special to hear it just now."

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The event was a chance for Danville to say thanks to the Steffens for representing them in London and for the Steffens to say thanks to the people that helped them become the people and water polo players they are today.)

Mayor Newell Arnerich, congressman Jerry McNerney and state assembly woman Joan Buchanan all attended. Maggie and Jessica, both of whom are graduates, addressed the crowd and talked about growing up in Danville and their experience at the Olympics.

"I played all different sports growing up, but when I knew I could go somewhere with water polo near the end of middle school, I always had support from teachers, coaches, really good friends and family to get to where I am today," Maggie said before the ceremony.

Maggie and Jessica both said they have been humbled by the response from the community since coming home.

"It seemed through social media that we receiving more coverage than last time," said Jessica, who was a member of the 2008 silver medal-winning team. "But I didn't realize until coming home just how much attention we got."

Jessica, 25, said the difference between the team in 2008 and the team in London was the team's camaraderie.

"We had great talent in Beijing, but this year's team really came together and fought for each other," Jessica said. "There wasn't one person not in the loop and I think that made the difference for us."

Maggie, 19, was the leading scorer in the tournament and considered one of the most talented water polo players in the world. But she still sees room for improvement and looks forward to the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro. First, she heads to Stanford, with school begining in three weeks.

"College is a totally different game than international competition," Maggie said. "I might have a gold medal, but I want a NCAA title too."


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