Photo Credit: Paul Zimmerman/Getty Images Entertainment
I wish every mom had a chance to witness what I did – a roundtable of some of the most amazing moms you will ever meet. They aren’t famous, but they are responsible for some of the greatest athletes in the country at this moment -- gymnasts Jordyn Wieber and Shawn Johnson, decathlete Ashton Eaton, weightlifter Sarah Robles and tae kwan do champ Diana Lopez, to name just a few.
For every one of these Olympic athletes, there was one constant – mom! Diana’s mom, a mother to three other Olympians, who always encourages her to be the best; Ashton’s mom, a single mom, who uses her self-described Arsenio Hall hooting cheer any time she is in the stands so her son will know she is there; Shawn’s mom, who embraced Shawn's decision to return to competition, even though she might have counseled against it, because she knows it’s what she wants; Jordyn’s mom who helps take the pressure off her daughter, who is the gold medal favorite in the gymnastics all-around competition; and Sarah’s mom, who has only been able to see her daughter compete three other times before the Summer Games.
Did you hear that? A mom of an Olympian who has hardly been able to see her daughter compete!
Well, now, Sarah’s mom will be able to go to London, thanks to a generous initiative by Procter & Gamble, providing $1,000 to the nearly 800 moms of Olympic and Paralympic athletes to help them travel to the Olympics. Jodi Allen, P&G’s Vice President of North American Operations and Marketing, told us that when the company asked the United States Olympic Committee how it could help support the moms of U.S. athletes, the message was help get them to London to see their son or daughter compete. In addition to the travel stipend, P&G is setting up a "Family Home" in London, where the athletes and their families can connect during the Games.
Watch the P&G announcement here, along with comments from Shawn Johnson, Jordyn Wieber, Sarah Robles, Diana Lopez and Aston Easton, and their moms in interviews with iVillage:
Watch here as P&G announces its gift to moms on Today along with a group of Olympic hopefuls including Jordyn Wieber and swimming great Ryan Lochte:
Also, check out this riveting documentary by P&G titled "Raising an Olympian" featuring Shawn Johnson and her mom, Teri.
Some of my other favorite moments from this extraordinary event:
Hearing how humble these athletes and their moms are, although every once in a while Shawn Johnson said her dad stops and says, “ “Oh my goodness, do you know you won the Olympics?”
When did they know?
Learning about when these moms knew they had an Olympian in their midst. For Joy Robles, that happened when Sarah was three and was able to carry two twelve packs of sodas into the house when her mom returned from a grocery shop!
Hearing Diana Lopez talk about how a “family that kicks stays together” and how her family's values helped her get where she is today.
Hearing how so many of the moms do their children's laundry, which made Rita Wieber feel kind of guilty since she doesn’t do Jordyn’s!
Hearing Sarah talk about body image, and how she hopes she can be a role model to taller and bigger women. “Embrace your body and it will take you to new heights,” she says.
Hearing how Ashton thinks about being a role model too, especially to the little kids, and how he hopes they see dreams are possible but that it does take hard work to realize those dreams.
Wieber loves Bieber!
Hearing how Jordyn Wieber is one heck of a Justin Bieber fan. Justin Bieber, are you listening?
Dancing with the Stars: Reunion?
Hearing how Shawn Johnson, a former champion on Dancing with the Stars, is hoping for a reunion show with champions from each season going head to head.
And thinking about how I hope my two girls -- now 6 and 4 ½ and not showing any Olympic talents just yet! -- grow up to be as grounded, as warm, as dedicated and as loving as these young women and men, who could represent the United States this summer at the Olympic Games, have grown up to be.
I need another tissue now!
Kelly Wallace, a mom of two, is Chief Correspondent of iVillage. Follow Kelly on Twitter (@kellywallacetv).