Charlottesville Boasts Special Olympic Gold Medalist

By: Autria Godfrey
By: Autria Godfrey

July 16, 2006

Charlottesville has it's very own Olympian. Christopher Raupp competed in the week long special Olympics games in Iowa last week and made history as the first winner at the National level.

"Play within yourself." Those are the inspirational words that helped 36-year-old Christopher Raupp bring home both the gold & silver in tennis at the first ever Special Olympics National Game.

Fellow player, mentor, and father, Lloyd Raupp helped cheer his son on in Iowa where he won the gold medal for mixed doubles and the silver for singles.

"I'm probably more nervous than he is when he plays, because I know what he can do and when he doesn't do what I know he can do, then it's harder on me. So I try to stay as far back from the court as possible," Lloyd said.

An avid sports fan, Chris has won awards in golf, swimming, and basketball and he has an entire wall to showcase his many honors.

"Gold medals, silver medals, bronze medals, [I've got] everything," Chris said.

Chris has been playing tennis for about 16 years and says he doesn't have any problems fitting it in even with a full time job that he loves.

"I work at the University in Newcomb Hall," Chris explained. This job works out well for him because it helps feed his sports addiction. "I get to meet football players and basketball players," he said.

After winning the gold at the 2005 Virginia state games, Chris was selected to stand among 3,000 nationally recognized athletes to represent Virginia.

"He just hangs in there, he's got a lot of determination," his father boasts.

Team Virginia took home a total of 46 medals and 17 ribbons. The games are set to take place every four years and Chris said he would be thrilled to have the opportunity to return.

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