Tuesday, June 19 , 2018, 9:15 pm | Fair 62º


Local News

Santa Maria Council Celebrates City’s Returning Olympians

Panel proclaims "Josh Prenot Day" and "Karlos Balderas Day" during Tuesday night recognization

A pair of Santa Maria Valley Olympians — and their families — were celebrated during the Tuesday night meeting of the Santa Maria City Council.

Council members adopted proclamations declaring “Josh Prenot Day” and “Karlos Balderas Day” in honor of the Olympic athletes who competed in Rio de Janeiro in swimming and boxing events, respectively.

The 23-year-old Prenot, who was not present Tuesday but was represented by his parents Bill and Tammy Prenot, captured the silver medal in the 200-meter breaststroke event in Rio. 

The UC Berkeley student is expected to attend a recognition at Downtown Fridays at the Santa Maria Town Center West parking lot. The event is planned for 6 p.m. Friday, and comes two weeks after a similar celebration of Balderas.

“We are looking forward to seeing him here on Friday night for the party we’ll have across the street,” Bill Prenot said.

The silver medalist is a former member of the Santa Maria Swim Club, and his parents praised the coaching staff for their roles in developing the skills of swimmers through the years. 

They also thanked the community support for their son with viewing parties for his swimming competitions 

“All of you had better seats for that swim than we did,” said Bill Prenot, who was in Rio for his son’s Olympic debut.

Balderas, whose legal name is spelled Carlos, competed in the lightweight boxing division of the Olympics, losing in the quarterfinals.

With his siblings, mother, grandmother and pastor in the audience in addition to his father, Zenon, and uncle, David, who coach him, Balderas received a proclamation plus recognition from state Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson, D-Santa Barbara.

“Words can’t explain the way I’ve been received since I got back from the Olympic Games,” Balderas, 20, said. “It was a very very hard journey.”

He thanked the community for the support, noting the months leading up to his departure were spent focused on training.

“Coming back to this, man, it’s a blessing,” Balderas said.”This is something that I’ve been working for, and now I’m looking forward to a profession. … I hope to continue having everybody behind me, and I’ll continue to make Santa Maria proud.”

Councilwoman Etta Waterfield praised both families for their roles in fostering their sons’s Olympic dreams.

“You are an example of what a family does. They work together, pray together and stay together,” Waterfield told the Balderas family.

“I am so proud that you live in the city of Santa Maria,” she told the boxer. “You make us so proud,”

Both Prenot and Balderas also were recognized by the city with colorful welcome home banners at Perlman Park at the corner of Broadway and Main Street.

Noozhawk North County editor Janene Scully can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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