By Andrew Royal, 17
Scholastic News Online Student Reporters, Missouri
Sampsa Kemppinen after winning the gold in the English Equestion. (Photo courtesy Sportsfile)
When I met Finland athlete Sampsa Kemppinen, 28, he reminded me of myself when I first began participating in Special Olympics. He was shy and a bit intimidated by the camera, but when his coach began to talk about his horse and the events he was participating in, he quickly gave us a huge smile.
He told me that he had a short 3-hour flight to the games; the wait to compete seemed like a longer journey because he was excited.
Sampsa was very glad when his coached asked him to join the team and is glad to be working with her. He competed in the walk and trot events in the Masters Division.
"I am enjoying being at the World Games," Sampsa told me. "My favorite part so far has been the opening ceremonies. I was excited to see all of the entertainers."
It was somewhat difficult to interview this athlete because I had to wait on the interpreter to translate the questions and the answers. Despite my lack of understanding his language, I was sure by the wide grins and hugs that he was enjoying his time in the Equestrian competition. I am so glad that I was able to cover this event because I had not been to an equestrian event before.