After capturing the bronze medal in the halfpipe snowboard competition in Salt Lake City, Olympic medalist J.J. Thomas will return to his hometown of Golden, Colorado this weekend in true champion style. The City of Golden has planned an all-out welcoming celebration beginning with an autograph signing party, a downtown parade, fireworks, a medal ceremony, and closing with a post-party, all open to the public.

The welcome parade will begin Saturday, March 9 at 7 p.m. in the streets of downtown Golden. Riding in the bucket of a fire truck, Thomas and his family will make their way down Washington Avenue, which will be renamed J.J. Thomas Boulevard for the weekend. The parade will conclude in Parfet Park with fireworks and live music as Golden city officials present Thomas with a key to the city during a special medal ceremony.

“Golden is so proud of J.J.’s accomplishments, not only during the Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, but throughout his entire professional career,” said Tami Johnson, City of Golden spokesperson. “J.J. has represented Golden and the United States with such integrity and professionalism, and we’re excited to welcome him back home.”

The city will also transform the large “M” that lights Mount Zion to “JJ” for the evening through a brilliant lighting effect. The “M,” a prominent feature in Golden since 1932, represents the Colorado School of Mines, one of Colorado?s most prestigious universities. Following the parade, the Buffalo Rose Saloon will host a post-party in downtown Golden.

Other weekend festivities include a charity basketball game Friday evening at nearby Lakewood High School where J.J. Thomas, members of the Denver Broncos football team, and others will play. On Saturday, Thomas will visit the Golden Community Center for an autograph signing session from 4 to 6 p.m.

At age 20, J.J. Thomas has become one of the world?s premier snowboarders. Thomas is a resident of Golden, Colorado, and has been snowboarding professionally for five years, developing expert style in Halfpipe, Superpipe, and Slopestyle. Before winning the bronze medal in the 2002 Winter Olympic Games in Salt Lake City, Thomas won first place honors at the 2002 U.S. Snowboard Grand Prix, Halfpipe, the 2002 Winter X-Games, Superpipe, the 2001 U.S. Snowboard Grand Prix Okemo, VT, Slopestyle, and the AST Halfpipe Competitions. Thomas is sponsored by Ride Snowboards, Oakley, Celtek, and another major TBA sponsor.