How the Wimbledon 'guy with the skirt' used his fame to support charity

Busted Racquet
Chris Quinn poses with Kim Clijsters, Rennae Stubbs, Conchita Martinez and Andrea Jaeger after he attempted to return Clijsters’s serve during Wimbledon. (Screen shot via YouTube)
Chris Quinn poses with Kim Clijsters, Rennae Stubbs, Conchita Martinez and Andrea Jaeger after he attempted to return Clijsters’s serve during Wimbledon. (Screen shot via YouTube)

Chris Quinn considers himself to be “just an average guy from a small town,” but on July 14, during a friendly women’s doubles match at Wimbledon, Quinn became an international sensation.

After encouraging Kim Clijsters to rip her opponent with a “body slam” during her doubles match with Rennae Stubbs against Conchita Martinez and Andrea Jaeger, Quinn suddenly found himself on the court forcing a white skirt over his hips. Clijsters, amused by Quinn’s comment, had called him down to the court from the stands and motioned for him to receive one of her serves.

But, of course, at Wimbledon, all athletes must wear white, so Clijsters kindly offered Quinn her backup skirt.

The video footage that followed, the scenes of Quinn trying and succeeding in putting on Clijsters’ skirt and then failing to return her serve on the Wimbledon Court, went viral.

“Oh God, it’s been non-stop, interviews, television interview, newspaper reporters, photo opportunities,” Quinn told Yahoo Sports in regards to the media attention he experienced after the game. “We were just having a bit of fun and the next thing you know the social media world went crazy. That has never happened in Wimbledon before.”

Since that day, though, Quinn has used his 15 minutes of fame for positive change.

Quinn continued a friendly relationship with Clijsters after the match and traveled from Ireland, his home country, to the United State to have Clijsters sign her white skirt that he wore in the match. He then worked with an Irish charity, the Gavin Glynn Foundation, to auction off the skirt and donate the money to the organization. Clijsters’ signature, Quinn said, increased the value of the skirt, and he’s thrilled to be able give the money back to a foundation that means so much to his community.

“It was my opportunity to give something back. I couldn’t think of anyone else to give it to,” Quinn said. “What would I do with a skirt?”

The auction for the skirt closed on on the week of July 27th at 3,000 euros. Fila, the tennis sportswear company, then matched the amount, helping donate a total of 6,000 euros to the Gavin Glynn Foundation.

“The money raised from the skirt will go towards flights, accommodation and travel expenses for families we are helping who need to travel overseas with their child for specialised cancer treatment,” John Glynn, the founder of the Gavin Glynn foundation, said in an email to Yahoo Sports. “We currently have 4 families that are overseas or are going this month with each family costing €10-15k to cover their trip.”

Glynn created the foundation after his son Gavin passed away on Oct. 21, 2014 following a three-year fight with cancerous tumors. The foundation, named after his son, helps families like Glynn’s support other families’ care for their loved ones who battle similar forms of cancer. Glynn said he is grateful for the attention that the skirt auction has brought to his organization, and he hopes the awareness will lead to more donations to children with cancer. Quinn noted that he agrees to most of the media requests as a way to promote the foundation, and he’s glad he’s had the chance to be part of the experience.

What started out as a wild run at Wimbledon turned into an incredible charity event, and for Quinn, that’s really more than he ever imagined.

“When you’re coming from obscurity as I was, it was a strange experience,” Quinn said. “I’ve run out of ways to describe it, one amazing experience after another.”

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