(Chesterville) – Christina Judd-Campbell has returned from the birthplace of the Olympics a world champion.
The 23-year-old graduate of Seaway District High School was first overall in the Special Olympics World Summer Games, held July 1-3 in Athens, Greece. Along with the overall gold in rhythmic gymnastics, she won three individual gold medals and a silver during the Games.
Competing in the highest division, Campbell scored a total of 34.468 points to win the all-around title ahead of Canadian Emily Boycott, who posted a total score of 33.930, and Gizela Billikova of Slovakia, who came in third with 32.730.
The only athlete to post a score higher than nine in an individual event, Campbell was first in ball at 9.012, clubs at 8.775, and ribbon at 8.456. Boycott won the hoop event with 8.313, while Campbell was a close second at 8.225.
“I was so happy that I did very, very well,” said Judd-Campbell in a recent interview.
The Chesterville woman said the secret to her success was plain old hard work.
“I trained for these games harder than I ever thought I could. When I wasn’t on the mat, I was in the gym on a treadmill or working on my core.”
The training paid off, helping her maintain her balance and giving her the strength for the jumps and turns that helped her score so high in the ribbon and ball events, says mother Kathryn Campbell, a teacher at Winchester Public School.
Judd-Campbell trains with gymnastics coach Xinhong Jin of the Ottawa Rhythmic Gymnastics Club, ballet teacher Nancy Cowan of Kemptville, and fitness trainer and MMA instructor Steve Roxborough of Team Bushido in Ottawa.
A special preparation this year in advance of the games was training with world-class Canadian sprinter Okiki Akinremi in Toronto. Once a month, Judd-Campbell and three other Special Olympics athletes trained with Akinremi at his fitness studio in Toronto. Judd-Campbell used the training to improve her flexibility.
This is the second time that Judd-Campbell has competed at the Worlds. She won the overall silver in rhythmic gymnastics at the 2007 Special Olympics World Summer Games in Shanghai, China.
She plans to celebrate her triumph next month with a visit to Las Vegas, where she and her parents will take in a concert by her favourite singer, Celine Dion.
The Special Olympics provides an opportunity for those with an intellectual disability to enrich their lives through sport. Founded in 1968 by Eunice Kennedy Shriver, what first started out as a summer camp has now grown internationally to include nearly 3.5 million athletes.
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Winchester Public School
Mother of Christina Judd-Campbell