SHAWN JOHNSON, ASHTON EATON, SARAH ROBLES, DIANA LOPEZ & THEIR MOMS DISCUSS “THANK YOU MOM” OLYMPIC CAMPAIGN & PREPPING FOR LONDON
The Olympic Games are less than three months away and Mother’s Day is just around the corner. In celebration of both occasions, Olympic athletes are saying “thank you” to their moms, the women who have sacrificed their own dreams to help their children succeed, who provide endless support and encouragement, and who will sit nervously in the stands to watch their kids compete in London. Olympic hopefuls including Ryan Lochte, Shawn Johnson and Jordyn Wieber, together with their moms, appeared on the Today Show yesterday to help introduce the latest leg of Proctor & Gamble’s “Thank You Mom” campaign. The initiative focuses on the role moms play in raising Olympians.
“We believe that behind every athlete is an even more amazing mom – who has been supporting her child every step of the way,” said Melanie Healey, P&G Group President, North America.
P&G also announced that it will give each mom of the nearly 800 U.S. Olympians and Paralympians who will comprise Team USA at the London 2012 Games a $1,000 Visa reward card to help offset travel costs or for use while at the Games. Additionally they have created the P&G Family Home, a private and secure “home away from home” where moms of Olympians can spend time with their athletes in between competitions. The news follows the recent launch of the “Best Job” film which serves as the inspiration behind the entire campaign. For more information about the “Thank you, Mom” gift, visit www.facebook.com/thankyoumom.
Check out the Today Show clip below:
A Glam Slam spoke with Olympians Shawn Johnson (Gymnastics) and mom, Terri, Ashton Eaton (Decathalon) and mom, Roslyn, Sarah Robles (Weightlifting) and mom, Joy, and Diana Lopez (Taekwondo) and mom, Ondina. The athletes and their moms spoke about their relationships, maintaining a sport/life balance and prepping for the London Games.
Can you talk about the P&G gift and the P&G Family Home? How will they benefit moms?
Roslyn: Proctor & Gamble is helping moms with $1000 gift to the Olympics so we can watch our children compete and they are going to have a home in London where athletes and families of athletes can meet in an environment that’s comfortable, and where the athletes can reach out and can be with their families and their mothers between their competing days. It’s really important and it’s supporting the athletes and their moms so we’re all very excited.
Terri: I think having any place that gives you a little bit of home, that makes you feel more confident in your ability to get around, it gives you some place to go that isn’t so foreign. I think that will be wonderful for the families.
Joy: I think one good thing about this is not all athletes’ mothers have family there besides their athlete and they can go there and visit the other athletes’ moms because they’re in the same mindset, they’re there for their children. And you still have somebody to talk to who is there for the same reason as you are.
What are you most looking forward to in the next few months, leading up to the London Games?
Roslyn: I’m most looking forward to the trials, that’s where we start, and I’m looking forward to watching the competition. We have three great American decathletes that we’d like to represent the USA. And of course watching my son, Ashton, fulfill his dream. That’s always most exciting for me.
Athletes, how has the support of your moms led you to where you are today?
Ashton: Once I chose track & field, the support was there. Anything that I wanted to do, I had her support and I knew that. And she did this by basically having no life of her own. I mean she worked and I don’t really think she went out with friends much. I don’t think it was her dream to work all the time. I’m here fulfilling my dreams and she’s probably had dreams of her own but she didn’t do them so I could fulfill mine.
Diana: My mom has been there from day one supporting not just myself, but my three older brothers as well. Having four children, you don’t have a life at all. Your life is your kids. She’s like Superwoman and she’s still my Superwoman to this day. And she’s never asked anything from us, just to do well in your sport and do well in your education. I thank my mom everyday and that’s also what gets me motivated to keep going and to keep doing well not just for myself but for my family.
Shawn, we’ve all seen the video you made with your mom, “Raising An Olympian.” How has training for these games differed from the Beijing Games and has your mom’s attitude and support changed in any way?
Shawn: I think it’s a little different this time because I’m not 15, 16 years old. I know what it takes, I know everything it’s going to take to get there and I think my mom does too. And this second time, she’s still been so supportive doing anything and everything she can to help. I definitely feel that I’m a little more independent this time going into it and trying to do it all on my own. But I’ve realized that I can’t and she’s been there to pick me up every time that I seem to stumble and fall. She’s just been my rock, especially these past two years.
How do you keep your daughters/sons engaged in other activities, when they need to take a break from training? How to you help them maintain balance in their lives?
Terri: I think as far as balance goes, just to encourage anything else outside of the sport for a distraction. I don’t know that there can be a natural balance. Overload on anything is unhealthy and I just always encourage Shawn to keep a healthy perspective and not let things get so big that they ever feel unmanagable.
Were/are any of the moms athletes themselves?
Joy: It’s a no from all of us.
Did you always think that your kid was the best, even growing up?
Roslyn: I never thought he was the best because my eyes were only on him so I didn’t have other children to compare him to. I would say that I noticed that he was athletically inclined and that he was better than average at most things he did and I loved to watch him do whatever it was he was doing.
Diana: My mother, as a Latin mother, she taught all of her children that they were the best from day one and you start believing it whether you’re not or you are. And I believe it to this day, that I’m the best. She said you’re the best from day one and I don’t know if she meant it but she said it all the time.
Athletes, did any of you ever want to quit along the way? What did your moms do to support you?
Shawn: Yes, many times. When I was growing up, especially in middle school and high school, I went through a lot times where I wanted to quit or do something else. I’d tell my mom I don’t think I want to do it anymore and her reaction was ‘okay.’ She always said you want to make sure you are sure about it, so take a break, come back in a few days and if you still feel the same, then try something else. But there was always her reminder that I wasn’t doing it for her, I was doing it for myself and she just wanted to support me in whatever I do to make me happy.
Terri: I just always wanted to encourage her to not make a rash decision. I would encourage her to take some time and if she definitely came back and said she wanted to quit then I would believe it, versus it just being a bad day at practice.
Ashton: I don’t think that there was ever a day that I’ve wanted to quit.
Sarah: I don’t know necessarily that I’ve gotten to the point where I wanted to completely quit, but I always daydream about all different kinds of things, about how different life would be if I excelled at a different sport or succeded in school. But I don’t think I’ve ever said to myself that I want to quit.
Diana: I almost made the Olympic team in 2004, I was a point away from making the team. And at that point I watched my brother, who is an Olympic coach, coach Steven [brother] to winning his second Olympic gold medal. He also coached a girl that I had competed against at the finals and she ended up winning the silver medal. I saw her in the awards, at the podium. My brother Gene made me watch that and he told me to remember how I felt at that moment and to never feel that way again. I had the support of my mother who told me to go back, persevere and keep going and here I am today making my second Olympic team. It’s bittersweet how life works and it’s a complete circle now.
As the mother of an athlete, how do you handle nerves when your child is competing? Ryan Lochte’s mother has admitted that she won’t tell people where she’s sitting during his competitions. Do you have any similar rituals or traditions?
Diana: My mom hides in the crowd, you don’t know where she’s at. If she sees a camera, she’ll hide before she has the camera on her just like Ryan’s mother.
Terri: I think I’m kind of boring when I watch Shawn. I enter the arena, I go straight to my seat and I don’t ever leave it until it’s time to leave. I know she’s always going to be aware of where I’m at and I don’t ever want to leave. If she looks up and needs to make eye contact or something, I’m a nervous wreck so I just sit there and I don’t talk, I just watch.
Joy: I’m usually watching her only on the screen, I watch her on the computer. And I have my eyes closed and my fingers crossed.