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Adam Hall felt a striking sense of similarity to eight years earlier, as fans and family gathered at the Dunedin Airport yesterday to welcome their local hero.
The gold medal-winning Paralympic skier was greeted by a lone piper, a haka and about 100 others as he entered the terminal, just as he did after winning gold in 2010.
He was wearing the gold and bronze medals he won in the men's slalom and super combined respectively this month, at the Winter Paralympics in PyeongChang, South Korea.
He was amazed by the reception, he said.
"I was not expecting such a big welcome home, to be honest. It almost brings home memories to that welcome home eight years ago, so a very, very special moment and great to see so many kids here."
The sport required the sacrifice of being away from family for long periods, he said.
"So it's great to finally be back home in Dunedin. It was great to get into the country yesterday in Auckland, but to be back home in Dunedin is different."
He would now embrace the win and spend time with family.
The recent medals were "extra special", he said.
"So much in our sport has progressed in the last eight years, so to be back on top of the podium at the Paralympic games is an amazing feat in itself, I believe, and an amazing achievement."
It was still yet to sink in, he said.
"Being able to share all of the moments with the New Zealand public is making it more and more real and more and more special, for sure."
Hall was born and raised in Dunedin but spends much of his time in Wanaka.
Taieri College pupil Rachel Irvine (17) said the athlete was "really inspiring".
"It's pretty awesome that a small little school out in Mosgiel is on the world stage."
Hall attended the school as a child.
Family friend Jo Davidson, of Mosgiel, said it was a little overwhelming to see him coming home.
"I was here eight years ago. The Taieri is bubbling with pride."
His late mother Gayle Hall would be "so proud", she said.