Nick Baumgartner returns home before Olympics

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IRON RIVER, Mich. (WLUC) - On Friday, Nick Baumgartner was honored with a pep rally at his old high school, to send him off, Olympic style.

It's just so cool to see all the local kids so fired up. I'm going to take that energy into Korea," said Olympian Nick Baumgartner.

With only two days left before Nick Baumgartner leaves the U.P. excitement is high as ever for Iron River.

"When he comes to the school, the kids love him. Whether they're young kids in the element to seniors," said West Iron County Principal Mike Berutti. "All the way up, everyone looks forward to seeing Nick."

For the third time in eight years, West Iron County School held a pep rally with warm and loud sendoff greetings for the expert snowboarder. But with Nick making several school appearances this week, he wants to bring a message to the students:

"Don't think I'm cool because of the athletic achievements I've done. Hopefully they see what I'm doing since the spotlight is on me. Hopefully that's more important to them that I'm sharing this with the community, and that I'm reaching out to other people I'm trying to get as many people involved with it as I can."

More than 850 students greeted Nick with cheers as his son led him out with an American flag. A video was then presented to the school, highlighting Nick's career.

"I was a teacher at West Iron back in 1999 to 2000. Nick played football for me, ran track. I remember Nick in the hall ways. He was a student aid for me. He always had enthusiasm from all that he did," continued Berutti.

Nick finished the pep rally by answering questions from the students about his experiences and expectations from past Olympics. The U.P. is more than hoping his third time will be a charm.

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