There are a whole lot of buttons missing from the Olympic Village in London today. They all burst off the shirts of the parents of the U.S. women’s gymnastics “Fab Five” team as their hearts swelled with pride.
The families watched with awe and brimming eyes while Jordyn Wieber, McKayla Maroney, Gabby Douglas, Aly Raisman and Kyla Ross turned in stunning performances in the team championships for a decisive gold-medal win over the Russian team.
Today, the delighted moms and dads talked to the Today show about their emotions on their daughters’ amazing accomplishment – and even offered advice to parents of aspiring Olympians.
Here’s what they had to say!
Rita Wieber, mom of Jordyn, said, “I keep thinking of the word ‘surreal.’ It was unbelievable. I’m so happy for those girls. They’ve worked so hard. I am truly proud of all of them.”
Rick and Lynn Raisman, Aly’s parents, became overnight stars themselves when a video of them cheering during the preliminary competition went viral. “I kind of learned my lesson the first night not to go too crazy,” said Rick.
Natalie Hawkins, mother of Gabby, may have made the biggest sacrifice of any of the parents when she let her daughter move to a different city and live with a host family so that she could train at an elite-level gym. Today, she said, “To know that they were able to overcome so many struggles and, you know, to be able to be here with them and celebrate in this moment in time is amazing.”
Last night, at the P&G Family Home in the Olympic Village, Natalie added, “I’ve never felt anything of this magnitude. I just want to jump up and down.”
And to the parents of young boys and girls who may want to go for the gold themselves, McKayla’s dad, Mike Maroney, had some wise words. “The best thing a parent can do is just support them and let them live their dream. Don’t make it your dream,” he said. “It has to be theirs, because if they want it bad enough they’re going to be able to achieve it, and just give them all the tools that can give them that opportunity to have the success that their dream is all about.”
What a day for five sets of proud parents – and it’s not over yet! Soon the Five will be back in the arena looking to add more medals to their collection as they compete in the individual events. Aly and Gabby will also be going for the all-around title.
Best of luck to everyone!
[Photo: courtesy of P&G]
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