Olympic Competitor humbled by Local Support
By. Danny Bridges / Indianapolis Recorder
When an Olympic caliber athlete performs on some of the biggest stages in the world, they undoubtedly experience a type of rush that most of us could never imagine or will ever experience. Amber Campbell is indeed a world class competitor, but she views all of her remarkable success as secondary in comparison to the support she has received from her family and friends here in Indianapolis.
“I am truly blessed to have a loving family and so many wonderful people supporting me as I head to London for my second Olympiad,” said the polite, but confident Campbell when she spoke to me by telephone from Myrtle Beach, S.C. I found out first hand just how much the community cares for this young lady when I visited the McDonalds restaurant at 57th and Georgetown this past week, where a large number of people turned out for a fundraiser to help Amber and her family with related expenses for traveling to London.
Store owner James Poore hosted the event and was candid in his remarks on why it is so easy to get involved. “I look at this opportunity as a way to give back to those in the community that have helped my business,” said Poore, who also supported Campbell when she traveled to Beijing for the 2008 Olympics. “Meeting Amber and her family has been a joy,” added Poore who himself is an avid distance runner and competes in marathons. “She is right here in our community and we value the opportunity to support one of our very own.”
Campbell competed in the shot put and discus events at Pike High School, where she graduated in 1999 before heading South to attend college at Coastal Carolina, where she took up the hammer and began to hone her craft. She quickly distinguished herself as a top performer and would go on to be a six time U.S. indoor champion. She also won the gold in the 2010 Visa Championships, but her eye is squarely on Olympic gold in London. “I was just happy to be in the 2008 Olympics,” offered the pride of Pike Township, who finished 20th out of 50 competitors in Beijing. “It is indeed different in 2012, as I expect to win.” If she doesn’t, it certainly will not be to a lack of training as Campbell’s workout routine consists of a rugged six day a week regiment which includes 50 throws a day augmented by vigorous weight training.
Campbell credits her parents James and Evette for her work ethic and it is obvious they could not be prouder of her. “I know just how hard she has worked and how important the Olympics are to her” said her mother, who has been a teacher for 16 years. “We just want her to do her best and represent her country well.”
While every athlete looks ahead, the levity of the opportunity in London is certainly not lost here as Campbell knows this could be her last shot at the gold. “It is hard to say how long I can compete but if I can maintain my health and stay focused I could strive for 2016.” Barring injuries, look for Campbell to be there again.
NOTES: Amber Campbell’ s first day of competition is scheduled for Aug. 8.
I would like to thank James Poore for truly giving back to the community, along with Victoria Beaty of the public relations firm of Bandy Carroll Hellige for her assistance in speaking to Amber and her family. Log on to McDonalds.com for more information on their commitment to Olympic athletes.
Danny Bridges, who thinks Amber Campbell is a gold medal person regardless of what happens in London, can be reached by e-mail: Bridgeshd@aol.com.