What are the odds that a California town of 11,000 people would be planning a parade to honor one of its own as an Olympic medalist? Since journalists are notoriously bad at math, we will hedge that one and just say that they are, well, pretty high.
Now consider the odds of such a town ... oh, say, maybe, the East Bay's very own Clayton ... having such a parade to honor TWO Olympic medalists in its midst. From the same Olympics, no less. Well, we don't think our calculators go that high, so we will stick with the imprecise term astronomical.
Yet, on Sept. 15 that is exactly what is going to occur in this quaint little city nestled in the shadow of Mount Diablo. Yes, Clayton is planning a parade to honor and welcome home its latest Olympians Kara Kohler and Kristian Ipsen. Each won a bronze medal in the recent London Games.
And, believe us, when it comes to throwing a parade, Clayton knows what it is doing. It's legendary July 4 parade is the epitome of participatory events. If you live in Clayton and are in town on July 4, you are either in the parade or on the sidelines watching it. The city couldn't get more people out even if it passed a city ordinance requiring attendance.
But we imagine that no such ordinance will be required for this parade. Ipsen and Kohler are town heroes as the multitude of congratulatory signs dotting the downtown landscape will attest. They have done their nation, their county and, especially,
Kohler, a 21-year-old rower at Cal as well as a Clayton Valley High graduate, won the bronze while rowing in the women's quadruple sculls in a thrilling performance.
Then, on the same day (again, what are the odds?), Ipsen won the bronze in the men's synchronized 3-meter springboard event. Ipsen is a 19-year-old De La Salle High graduate and a Stanford University diver. He is also the youngest diver on this year's U.S. team, which would make him an experienced 23-year-old diver in 2016 when the Rio de Janeiro games roll around. Hey, no pressure, we're just sayin'.
The parade begins at 5 p.m. at Oak Street in downtown Clayton and will traverse Main Street, bend onto Marsh Creek Road and end at The Grove, which is the city's cool little downtown park.
The two athletes will assume the usual parade perches of honor on the backs of convertibles tooling slowly down the street. They then will be treated to speeches, awards and even a concert in the park. But the high point of the evening will be the presentation of the key to the city, something that no other Clayton resident has ever received.
We don't feel the need to urge people to attend the parade because, after all, this is Clayton. To paraphrase W.P. Kinsella's immortal mantra, "if you have a parade, they will come." So all that is left is for us to do is offer our heartfelt congratulations to Kara Kohler and Kristian Ipsen. Well done.