Thanks Special Olympics, Thanks Shanghai

The heart-felt words from parents of a Canadian athelete

By Wei Zhang
Shanghai Daily
October 4, 2007

On October 3 at the Rhythmic Gymnastics Preliminaries at the Changning District International Gymnastics Center, one Canadian couple raised quite a few eyebrows, they are Craig and Kathy Campbell, parents of Christina, a 19-year-old Special Olympics athlete. Craig and Kathy came to Shanghai, together with Christina’s brother, to be Christina’s “cheerleaders.” “To tell the truth, I never realized that Shanghai is such a beautiful and clean city, and China does so much for the Special Olympics.” said Kathy excitedly, “With so many athletes, so many competitions, yet it is so well organized, it was incredible.”

chris1While we were talking, Kathy waved Christina to join us. Christina confidently greeted and shook hands with the reporters, and told us that she started Special Olympics training when she was 15 years old, and her coach Xinhong Jin is a Chinese Canadian! Before the games, Christina traveled to the city of Hangzhou, because it is the hometown of her coach. “It is really beautiful there”, Christina said.

Seeing her daughter was having a fluent exchange with the reporters, Christina’s dad Craig revealed a comforting smile. “I’m really very grateful to Special Olympics, the children have had the opportunity to be successful and gained valuable self-confidence. You have to understand that many of them had never expected they would be successful.” Craig said, “I’m also very grateful to Shanghai. It is this city which has offered so many Special Olympics children with so beautiful memories of their lifetime. I think they will perhaps forever remember here in the rest of their life. Craig specifically mentioned the Special Olympics opening ceremony: “We watched it at the scene, were you there?” After receiving a positive reply, Craig couldn’t wait for the reporter’s further question “how did you feel there”, he became so excited that he started to wave his hands in the air and said with much exaggeration to me that: “We have never seen such a wonderful debut, and we even had never imagined it would be so good !”

In Canada, Kathy is a school teacher, Craig works for the government. They will stay in Shanghai until October 13, they are ready to visit the Bund, the Yuyuan Garden, the Oriental Pearl Tower, and other attractions once they could spare some time away from the competition site. Kathy disclosed to the reporters: “I had already discussed with my husband. After retirement, we will come back to Shanghai, we will teach English here, settle here, because we love here so much.”