Sunday, August 17, 2008

Olympic parents

The highlight of the Olympics so far for me was the look on Debbie Phelps' face when she saw that Michael had won his 7th gold medal by out-touching Cavic by 1/100th of a second. That look of shock, the hands frozen, and suddenly disappearing into her seat while her daughter was screaming and crying behind her, practically strangling her.

I couldn't find a still shot anywhere, but it's here in the NBC archives at about 03:20.

Michael Phelps, nothing. I've become a complete Debbie Phelps fan in this past week. It's hard enough for me to figure out my own gifts and how to use them best; how do you do that for someone else who is dependent upon you? How do you encourage without overpromoting? How do you harness discipline without being punitive?

No Olympian is self-made. In very few of the stories I've seen so far has the Olympian's family played as prominent a role as in Michael Phelps'. And that's probably as it should be; it is the athletes' time to shine. But seeing Debbie Phelps on a daily basis and hearing her story brings to mind that all of these Olympians have a family who are there somewhere, whether for good or for ill or (more likely) a mix of both. What are they going through? What is it like for them? I can only imagine that it's an amazing thing, watching your child on this kind of stage.

1 comment:

girishg said...

Absolutely - this is what I understood and totally agree. Family support comes first and every champion who made it to podium in any sport will first thank his/her my parents acknowledging their support. I have researched and discovered secrets of Olympians success and gathered tips from ex=champs. you can find them at