By Rebekah Martin
Opelika Parks and Recreation welcomed a world champion athlete to Opelika last week. Rayshine Harris, 12-time world champion power tumbler, held daily clinics from July 28 to Aug. 2.
Originally from Newark, N.J., Harris owns and operates two gymnasiums in his hometown. After ending his time in competitive tumbling, Harris said he knew he wanted to share his passion with young people. His namesake, the Shine Tumblers, are the group of young athletes Harris coaches.
Harris scheduled last week’s clinic after Valeri White, director of senior programs of Opelika Parks and Recreation, had the idea. Harris and White met through a mutual friend, Harris’ former coach, David Green.
Harris is known the world over for his skill and athleticism. Becoming a celebrity is not his list of priorities though.
“I never claim the fame,” Harris said. “My goal is to help these young athletes achieve their dreams; to know that they can shine in whatever they choose to do.”
Harris said he hopes to be able to schedule more trips to Opelika in the future. “I love the city of Opelika,” Harris said. “I will be back whenever Valeri wants me here.”
White said she was pleased with the community participation of this year’s clinic. “Nearly 30 young athletes were able to learn from Rayshine,” she said. “He has a passion for teaching others.
“He had more impact on our gymnasts in a week than most coaches would have in a month.”