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Photo: Suzanne Monteverdi/QNS
Photo: Suzanne Monteverdi/QNS
Olympians Deajah Stevens, Dalilah Muhammad, Jennifer Yue Wu and Natasha Hastings pose with their commendations

Welcome home, Queens Olympians!

Olympic competitors with roots in Queens were given a warm welcome home by Borough President Melinda Katz, elected officials and members of the community at a celebration outside of Queens Borough Hall in Kew Gardens on Sept. 12.

“We have standing here the pride of 2.3 million people in the borough of Queens, and the pride of the entire United States,” Katz said.

Olympians Jennifer Yue Wu, Natasha Hastings, Deajah Stevens and Dalilah Muhammad each have a unique and personal connection to Queens.

Wu, 26, is a former resident of Flushing. Originally from Beijing, she came to the United States in 2008 with the intent of becoming a naturalized citizen and competing with the U.S. Olympic team. Her dream came true: Wu became a naturalized citizen, and in Rio she reached Round 2 of Women’s Individual Table Tennis with Team USA.

Hastings, 30, is a former resident of Rosedale. In Rio — her third Olympics — she won gold as a member of Team USA in the women’s track and field 4×400-meter relay, and finished fourth in the women’s individual 400 meter.

“I remember running at Roy Wilkins Park here in Queens — some of my very, very early 400 meters — and where I figured out that the 400 was gonna be it for me,” said Hastings.

Stevens, 21, is a Cardozo High School alum, and finished seventh in the finals for the women’s 200-meter race. During her time at the podium, she had some special words for the youth in attendance.

“I just want to say to everyone out here — especially the young children — just never give up on your dreams, because nothing is impossible,” Stevens said.

Muhammad, 26, was born and raised in Rochdale and also attended Cardozo High School. She brought home gold from Rio in the women’s 400-meter hurdles.

“Thank you for the warm welcome home,” Muhammad said. “I’m just so happy to bring this home for Queens.”

Daryl Homer, St. John’s University graduate and silver medalist in fencing, and Phyllis Francis, former resident of Laurelton and gold medalist as member of Team USA in the women’s 4×400-meter relay, were represented by family members.

Katz presented each athlete with proclamations for their efforts. Victoria Labban, a student at the LaGuardia Performing Arts School and Queens resident, performed the National Anthem to begin the celebration.



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