08/06/2012 06:48 EDT | Updated 10/06/2012 05:12 EDT

Venezuelan fencer receives hero's welcome, returning from London Olympics with gold medal

CARACAS, Venezuela - Venezuelan fencer Ruben Limardo has received a hero's welcome upon his return home after winning a gold medal at the London Olympics.

The 27-year-old fencer rode atop a truck through the streets of Caracas, wearing his medal and waving to a crowd.

He was met at the airport by dozens of cheering fans amid flags and balloons. Limardo was overcome with emotion at the airport and said through tears: "I never imagined they'd receive me like this."

President Hugo Chavez has declared Limardo a national hero.

Limardo's gold medal was Venezuela's first since boxer Francisco "Morochito" Rodriguez won gold in the light flyweight division in the 1968 games.