September 05, 2013 | North America: North Carolina

Special Olympics is Bigger Than Big for a Charlotte Athlete

By Megan O'Donnell

Robin Callaway of Charlotte, NC smiles after a tennis match.

To say Special Olympics is a big part of Robin Callaway’s life is an understatement with a capital “U”. Special Olympics is bigger than big for the 27 year-old Charlotte athlete. “The impact Special Olympics has had on Robin’s life is huge,” said her mother, Nancy Callaway. “All of her friends, both athletes and non-athletes, they all are people she’s met through her participation. And Special Olympics has given her a incredible amount of self confidence. You can see it in the way she carries herself. I think it comes from the success she’s had on the playing field. Special Olympics is just an integral part of our lives, both hers and mine.” Robin didn’t get introduced to Special Olympics until she entered high school in 1999 but she’d always been athletic. She enjoys sports and now competes in tennis, basketball, softball, flag football, and bowling. Tennis is her favorite sport. In three short years, she has learned the fundamentals of the game and risen to match play competition at the state-level. “You can never tell if she’s won a fourth place ribbon or the gold medal,” said her mom. “She gives it her all but is proud no matter the outcome.” She and her doubles partner, Greyson Riehm of Charlotte, were the lucky recipients of free tennis lessons via a private donation made to the Jewish Community Center in Charlotte. The club pro Greg O’Connor has taught them strategies to use and how to better position themselves on the court when playing doubles. O’Connor was so taken by the pair; he’s offered to continue the lessons this fall. Robin and Grayson can’t wait to use their new found knowledge and skills in the fall tennis qualifier and then the SONC Fall Tournament. Robin isn’t just an athlete, she’s also an ambassador for Special Olympics serving as a Global Messenger and she regularly volunteers for the organization.

About Megan O'Donnell: VP of Communications for Special Olympics NC and trained Robin to be a Global Messenger!
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