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Conley still has Olympic, hometown touch

She's no longer "Kim Conley." She knows this. She might even want to change the name on her birth certificate, driver's license and credit cards. She's "Kim Conley Olympian", as if Olympian has become her last name. She's not David and Melanie's daughter anymore. She's Olympian. She's international, global in scope, the cache behind that word so powerful, it guarantees her an automatic friendly introduction and acceptance.

"Someone was always outside the entrance of the Olympic Village every day," said the 2004 Montgomery High graduate. "They would ask for your autograph. They were professional autograph seekers."

Those in the audience Saturday night at the Heart and Sole athletic footwear store in Santa Rosa weren't merely signature collectors.

When asked by a store employee how many in attendance were active runners, about half of the crowd of 40 raised their hands. The others? To see, to ask, to interact with an Olympic athlete, it's not like we have one of these strolling through Sonoma County every week.

Especially one with a President Obama story.

"What's your event?" Obama asked Conley after the London Games. USA's Olympic team was at the White House at the President's invitation.

"The 5,000 meters," Conley replied.

"So you can run all day then?"

"I try," Conley said.

And then First Lady Michelle Obama gave Conley a hug.


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