From Pinoy orphan to Aussie hero: Christopher Remke ends 24-year gold drought in men’s vault
Athlete Christopher Remkes, once a Filipino orphan until he was adopted by an Australian couple when he was 2 years old, brought honors to his adopted country as he won an elusive gold in men’s vault.
Standing a mere 4 feet and 10 inches (147 centimeters), Chris won the gold for men’s vault at the international 2018 Commonwealth Games, held in Gold Coast, Australia, on April 4-15.
Chris’ win, with the scores 14.866 and 14.766, marks the first time an Australian has won gold for the event in the past 24 years. The last time Australia took home the gold, won by Bret Hudson, was in 1994, according to The Courier Mail.
The diminutive 21-year-old athlete credited his small stature as the key to his victory. He said, “My height is almost like a super power, I’m lucky to have the build I have, it means I can go fast in the air.”
But most of all, he thanked his adoptive parents for this crowning achievement. “Without my parents I wouldn’t be here today, I would probably still be in the orphanage,” said Chris.
Adopted at the age of 2 by Australian couple Mike and Dora Remkes from an orphanage in the Philippines, Chris grew up happy with “nothing but smiles and bubbly and full of life,” said Mike.
As a baby, Chris was left at a hospital when he was just 2 days old. He was later handed to the orphanage where nuns took care of him until his adoption by the Remkes.
“When we got notification from the adoption agency, we saw a photo of him and we couldn’t say no,’’ recalled Mike.
He added, “We talked to the nuns at the orphanage and they had never seen him smile or happy.”
Chris would later get into gymnastics at the age of 5 and has passionately pursued the sport until now.
His proud father said, “His passion is so strong and his journey is still continuing.” Alfred Bayle /ra
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