Cupertino Special Olympics athlete receives honorary ESPY

CUPERTINO, Calif. (KGO) -- Coming up this Wednesday -- ABC7 presents the ESPY Awards for excellence in sports. Some of the world's top athletes will be honored along with a posthumous award for Eunice Kennedy Shriver, who founded the Special Olympics.

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Leading up to the tribute, 25 exceptional Special Olympics athletes are also being recognized with honorary Espys.

Stephanie Ching is swimming her heart out, just like she does every time she competes. "I train so hard and I love Special Olympics so much," she said.

ABC7 News first met Ching in 2004 when she shared the Special Olympics oath: "Let me win, but if I cannot win, let me be brave and attempt."

She has won medals, been inducted into the San Jose Sports Hall of Fame, and serves as an athlete member of the Special Olympics Board of Directors.

"I am a global ambassador," said Ching. "It's like speaking in public."

Ching has been to Washington D.C. 10 times to lobby Congress for funding for Special Olympics school and health programs.

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Her parents and brother have also been tireless volunteers-- coaching, fundraising, and sharing a critical support system.

"We get to meet a lot of friends and we practically have a Special Olympics family because we have children who have developmental disabilities," said Ching's mother Susana.

Ching's parents say Special Olympics helped turn their daughter into a brave, self-confident young woman - working at the Stanford Athletic Department.

"You can see how she developed and you are really hoping that all the other people, all the other families can have that chance," her father Caesar told ABC7 News.

Ching was just chosen to receive an honorary Espy for living the mission of the Special Olympics. ABC7 News was at her house when the award was delivered.

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She even had an acceptance speech ready to go. "I just want to say thank you to my parents to coach me really hard and I'm really honored for this award.," Ching said confidently.

She then hugged her father and teared up.

Ching already got her ESPY, but other, better-known athletes, including the Bay Area's Kevin Durant and Katie Ledecky will have to wait until Wednesday to find out if they won. The show starts at 8 p.m. on ABC7.

Click here for full coverage on the ESPY Awards.

Written and produced by Jennifer Olney.
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