Family, friends and neighbors cheer on Elle Purrier St. Pierre at Richford High School

Montgomery, Vt. native made Olympic debut Sunday in 1500 meters
Published: Aug. 2, 2021 at 12:42 AM EDT
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RICHFORD, Vt. (WCAX) - Sunday was a special night at Richford High School.

“Very appreciative of the tremendous support here,” said Charlie Purrier, the father of the star of the evening. “It’s just incredible. All the communities of the county and state. It’s just amazing.”

People from Richford, Montgomery, and all over Franklin County were on hand to cheer on the farm girl turned track star who’s name still can be found all over the gym at her high school.

“Every time I drive thru town, I cry,” said Annie Purrier, Elle Purrier St. Pierre’s mother. “To me it’s just unbelievable, all the support that we have.”

Elle Purrier St. Pierre was making her first appearance on the Olympic stage, competing in the second of three heats in her specialty: the 1500 meter run. But even though their daughter entered as the American champion and widely favored to advance, the hours before the race were still a little nervy for her parents.

“We’re a mess,” Annie joked before the race. “It’s hard to keep it together. I’m trying real hard to stay smiling without tears running down my face.”

While the nerves were understandable, Elle quickly eased any lingering tensions in the packed gym. Purrier St. Pierre turned on the gas about a minute and a half in, briefly taking the lead and comfortably coasting to the finish in third. With the top six advancing automatically, Elle easily advanced to the next round, meaning the Purriers, Franklin County, and all of Vermont will get another chance to cheer her on.

“Absolutley, we’re very proud,” Charlie said. “Couldn’t be prouder.”

“I’d like to see her make the podium but we’ll have to wait and see,” Annie added.

The next step for Elle will be the semfinals which are scheduled for around 6 A.M. Wednesday morning our time. That’s where the competition really heats up as only the top 5 from each of the two heats plus the next two fastest times overall will advance to Friday’s final.

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