Once an orphan, Christopher is our newest gold medal star
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