Raising Elite Athletes: from Olympic Moms


Pride and Glory

Do you have what it takes to raise an elite athlete? Moms of Olympic athletes gathered in February 2010 in Vancouver and told ParentsCanada their biggest challenges.

Else Groves

ELSE GROVES (mother of Kristina Groves, silver and bronze medalist, speed skating, 2010):
Kristina’s been so passionate over the years, we never had to push her. The child has to enjoy what they’re doing. I have enjoyed seeing her highs and lows. When she’s sad, we’re sad. But that’s part of the sport. I couldn’t bring myself to work that hard, but she can.

Debbie Frolek

DEBBIE FROLEK (mother of Lark Frolek, speed skating, 1992):
Some sports, you think they might get carried away on a stretcher. But if they’ve got the guts and the courage to do it, you’ve got the guts and the courage to help them.

Rhonda Hamilton

RHONDA HAMILTON (mother of Kyle Hamilton, men’s rowing, favoured to win gold in Athens in 2004, but placed 5th; won gold in Beijing in 2008):
As a mother, it’s the hardest thing in the world to watch your grown son cry, and you can do nothing. And then in Beijing they came home with the gold. We never let our breath out until the race was over. And then it was just incredible!

Elaine Flemmer

ELAINE FLEMMER (mother of Carrie Flemmer, softball, 1996):
For your own child, you get nervous. It’s worse than you being up there. You want them to do the best. Sometimes it doesn’t always work that way, but then you try again next time.

Margo Kozak

MARGO KOZAK (mother of Chelan Kozak, equestrian, 1996):
Money is a big challenge. You just make it work somehow because the tenacity and drive are impossible to say no to.



May Stewart

MAY STEWART (99 year-old mother of swimming sisters, Helen Stewart-Hunt, 1956, and Mary Stewart, 1960 and 1964):
They did the work. I didn’t work very hard!

Nancy Ricker

NANCY RICKER (mother of Maëlle Ricker, gold medalist in snowboard cross, 2010):
I don’t really feel that I’ve made sacrifices. She loves sports, and we love to watch her. She’s always been a tiger. These athletes like to live on the edge. If you can accept that, you’ll be fine.

Published May 2010

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