Com­mon­wealth Games

Once an or­phan, Christo­pher is our new­est gold medal star

Woman’s Day (Australia) - - Contents -

My par­ents de­serve gold

C hristo­pher Remkes be­came Aus­tralia’s lat­est Com­mon­wealth Games hero when he claimed our first men’s vault gold in 24 years last week.

But it was the 147cm-tall pocket rocket’s emo­tional post-vic­tory speech, ded­i­cated to his adop­tive par­ents Mike and Dora, that brought the crowd to tears.

In his heart­felt ad­dress, Christo­pher ad­mit­ted the lov­ing cou­ple from South Aus­tralia are the driv­ing force be­hind his suc­cess.

‘I owe ev­ery­thing to them, they gave me so much love and sup­port’

“With­out my par­ents I wouldn’t be here to­day, I would prob­a­bly still be in the or­phan­age,” the 21-year-old said. “I owe ev­ery­thing to them – they gave me so much love and sup­port and drove me to all the com­pe­ti­tions.”

Mike, who was in the au­di­ence when Christo­pher smashed out a win­ning score of 14.766, spoke with pride about his son’s rise to suc­cess af­ter he was dumped at a hos­pi­tal in the Philip­pines when he was two days old.

He was handed over to an or­phan­age be­fore the cou­ple, who were des­per­ate to start a fam­ily, adopted him. START­ING A FAM­ILY “When we got no­ti­fi­ca­tion from the adop­tion agency, we saw a photo of him and we couldn’t say no,” Mike says. “We in­stantly fell in love with him and we wanted a fam­ily. We talked to the nuns at the or­phan­age and they had never seen him smile or happy and as soon as we took him home to Aus­tralia, there was noth­ing but smiles and he was bub­bly and full of life!”

Hav­ing started gym­nas­tics at five years old, Christo­pher soon be­came hooked on the sport. Mike, a club gym­nas­tics coach, says his son was known as “Su­per­man” from an early age be­cause he was al­ways jump­ing and fly­ing over any­thing he could. “His pas­sion is so strong and his jour­ney is still con­tin­u­ing,” the beam­ing fa­ther adds. “We’re proud of ev­ery­thing. He was given noth­ing in life and he’s taken ev­ery op­por­tu­nity and run with it.” Af­ter break­ing Bret Hud­son’s 1994 men’s vault record, Christo­pher said his stature – or lack of it – was ac­tu­ally his se­cret weapon. “My height is al­most like a su­per­power,” he says. “I’m lucky to have the build I have – it means I can go fast in the air.”

Baby Christo­pher with par­ents Mike and Dora. THEN

NOW

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