Tennis Champ Wows Special Olympics
By A.J. Hellickson, 17
Scholastic News Online Student Reporters, Missouri

Competing in individual tennis skills competition for Team USA are (from left) Andrea Wemhoff, 21, Coach Kathy Meyer, and Rebecca Tincknell, 22. (Photo: Charles Nyambe)

June 27—Imagine learning a whole new sport at summer camp and then being picked to go compete in that sport in the World Games. When the tennis coach informed Rebecca Tincknell's mother that Rebecca was going to the World Games to compete in individual skills in tennis, her mother was quite surprised.

No one watching Rebecca compete in the individual competition here in Dublin, Ireland, would have been surprised, however. Rebecca played as if she has been holding a tennis racket as long as she has been involved in Special Olympics. Her efforts won her a gold medal in her division.

Rebecca was very serious and focused in her final competition today. She said she wanted to do her very best. Besides tennis, Rebecca also participates in Special Olympics for track and field and bowling. She doesn't have a favorite, she says.

Despite the gold, Rebecca says the best thing about her week at the World Games has been meeting Colin Farrell and getting an autograph from Maria Shriver on the back of her name tag. Rebecca's family is here supporting her at the World Games and she is glad that they are so proud of her.

"Rebecca is so motivated and focused she has done an unbelievable job learning how to do her tennis skills," said her coach Kathy Meyer. "She has improved the most of all of the tennis players. I am so proud of her. Every day I have watched her get better."