Winter Olympics Sochi 2014

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Locals Cheer on Branford Native and Olympic Medalist

By Brad Drazen
|  Tuesday, Feb 18, 2014  |  Updated 10:56 PM EDT
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Locals Cheer on Branford Native and Olympic Medalist

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Bronze medalist Alex Deibold of the United States celebrates on the podium during the flower ceremony for the Men's Snowboard Cross Final on day eleven of the 2014 Winter Olympics at Rosa Khutor Extreme Park on Feb. 18 in Sochi, Russia. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

In a town known for pink granite and the Thimble Islands, Branford now has another claim to fame.

While many of the locals we talked to know little about snowboard cross, they're all about Alex Deibold, a Branford native who reached the podium with a bronze-medal finish in Sochi on Tuesday.

As the regulars gathered at Branford's Cue & Brew restaurant and sports bar, billiards took a backseat to the snow in Sochi and the shoreline native who's made it big in the Caucasus Mountains.

"Alex: Go get it baby. You deserve it," said John Bencivengo, Jr., who was overcome with excitement watching Deibold compete. "A Branford local guy – a local guy; how great is that?"

Across town at Tommy Sullivan's Cafe, the snowboard cross specialist was celebrated by his one-time neighbor Nancy Fryer.

"It's very exciting," said Fryer, a longtime Branford resident. "I got texts from my daughters in Colorado and they all wanted to know if this was the kid that they remembered from the street. I said, 'Yes!'"

By the end of the night, the rooting turned to regaling as the 27-year-old Diebold secured some Olympic hardware.

"He's got the bronze and we're so excited about that," said Fryer. "It's wonderful."

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