Posts Tagged ‘ winter olympics ’

Olympians Meryl Davis and Charlie White Talk Family and Friendship

Friday, June 13th, 2014

It’s been a busy year thus far for Olympic figure skating pair Meryl Davis and Charlie White, who have competed in Sochi and on Dancing with the Stars. “This has been an amazing time for us. What’s been so great about it has been our ability to just live in the moment and enjoy what we’re doing,” said White, describing his year, which seems to keep getting better and better. Since speaking with Parents.com, White got engaged to girlfriend and former Olympic ice dancer Tanith Belbin!

Here, the two athletes discuss their role as Puffs SoftPack ambassadors, lessons they learned from their parents, and how they’ve been able to stay friends over the past 17 years.

P: How did you establish a partnership with Puffs SoftPack and what do you like about the brand?

MD: One of the things that we love most about P&G and Puffs is that it’s so family-oriented. Charlie and I are incredibly close with our families, and we love the ambiance of the whole company and how welcoming they are to both Olympians and their families and how supportive they are, so that’s really important to us. We also just believe in the product. We’re working with Puffs with their release of their SoftPack tissue, and we are excited about it as people who are on the road often. It’s the same great Puffs tissue that we use all the time—especially as skaters in the cold environment on the ice—but it’s so convenient now. It’s flexible, and it’s easy to transport with us, whether it’s in our skating bag or our suitcases, so we’re really excited about this new product.

P: Mother’s Day just occurred and Father’s Day is this weekend. What lessons have you learned from your parents? 

MD: We’re blessed to have two of the most amazing sets of parents. It’s really cool because our parents are all very different, and yet they all have a very similar philosophy on raising their kids, and that’s definitely worked to our advantage in being a team. Respect, we always say, is one of the most amazing and useful things that we’ve learned from our parents, especially in our career and our partnership together. Respect for each other, respect for yourself, respect for the people around you, and for us that’s really been a key thing for the last 17 years.

P: How did your parents react when you began to skate and compete? What advice do you have for parents of child athletes—even those who aren’t at your level of competition?

CW: What was so great about our parents was their complete ignorance of the sport. My dad was a sailor, my mom rode horses growing up; they really were not figure skaters, competitively, especially. All they knew was that we loved to skate and that was our passion, so they wanted us to be able to have the opportunity to chase our passion as long we were passionate about it. I think what really set them apart is we could’ve retired right after winning a silver medal at the 2010 Olympics, where potentially we had a very bright future—if that was what we wanted, they would’ve been happy for us, and that was their philosophy for our entire skating career. I think in a lot of ways that separates them from a lot of parents, who want to see their kid succeed but have a tendency to push them into something that maybe they’re not comfortable with or that they’re not interested in doing.  I think we’re going to be forever grateful for having our parents give us all the opportunities that we needed, because when you have those opportunities, that’s when you find your inner strength and want to work hard and want to be your best….When we’re standing up there, the National Anthem’s playing, and we’re receiving our gold medals, that’s what we think of. We reminisce on all the times when they had to make sacrifices so that we could become good figure skaters, and it is a lot of sacrifice, especially on the part of a parent.

P: What has helped you stay friends and partners over the years?

MD: I think it’s attributable to a number of things. First and foremost, we learned respect at an early age, and that’s played a huge role in how we relate to one another. Also just to be completely realistic, I think we are just incredibly fortunate to have been paired together at an early age. We grew up down the street from one another, we grew up with incredibly supportive parents who were able to help us really go after our dreams, so while a lot of our success is attributable to things that we were able to do, I think it also was just a little bit of fortune on our side, in terms of getting paired together, being well-matched physically throughout our 17 years so far together, and just having personalities that really work well together.

P: Other than skating, what activities did you enjoy while growing up?

CW: I grew up playing hockey, I played the violin, I played soccer, I was very active, but I also loved video games, I loved TV. I think both of us actually just had a really nice balance. We both learned to love learning and school, and I think somehow our parents were able to make everything fun….But we did a little bit of everything growing up, we certainly weren’t just focused on figure skating. We learned to love the outdoors and spending time with our family.

Help fitness run in your family with these tips.

Family Fitness
Family Fitness
Family Fitness

Add a Comment
Back To GoodyBlog

The Road to Rio With Dara Torres

Wednesday, February 26th, 2014

Another Olympic fortnight has come and gone and the torch has been snuffed in the Sochi snow. You know what that means? Countdown to the Summer Olympics 2016! Last week, Parents attended a Winter Olympics viewing party hosted by Swim Today to cheer on Team USA and ease on down the Road to Rio with some of Team USA’s most prized Olympic swimming medalists.

First up: Dara Torres, twelve-time Olympic medalist and mom to Tessa, 7, and stepmom to Krista and Lucas, 14. We sat down with the woman who appeared in five Olympic games—and was the oldest member of her Olympic team in both 2000 and 2008—to chat about life as mom-athlete, getting in shape after baby, the recent Sports Illustrated controversy, and all things swimming.

P: What you do you hope your kids learn from your many accomplishments?

DT: I think the biggest thing is: Don’t put an age limit on your dreams. I had such a long career. As I got older I learned not to listen to the negativity, or to use it as a positive. There are so many people who said, “Oh she can’t do this. She’s too old.” Whenever they said that it just fueled me even more. So: Turn negatives into positives and don’t put an age limit on your dreams.

P: You started off so young, then became the oldest woman on your team—not just in your last Olympics but in the one before that. What kept you going?

DT: You know, it goes by so fast. You talk about your kids growing up and it goes by so fast, but I look back on when I went to my first big international meet and it seems so long ago. The biggest thing [that kept me going] is I was able to go away from the sport a little bit to re-fall in love with it. To miss it again. When you’re in something for so long, you kind of loose the oomph, you know? I think that’s what separated me from some athletes who did the sport for so long [without a break]. I was able to fall in love with it again.

P: What is it about swimming that makes it such a great sport for young kids as well as a lifelong sport for adults?

DT: I think the biggest thing for everyone combined is the health and fitness aspect. It’s easy on the joints. It’s great cardiovascular exercise. It’s a great team sport and an individual sport. You have relays. You have individual events. Its’ a nice combo. For kids, especially, the great thing about it is that they’re not sitting on the bench. You’re always participating, you’re always part of the team, you’re always in the swim meets. So, I think that makes it a little bit special. I see my daughter and she’s not particularly super athletic, but she loves it.

P: Is swimming her “thing”? 

DT: We haven’t really figured out what her thing is. She’s only 7. She seems to like lacrosse and tennis, but swimming is something she’s been doing all year. I don’t push it, but she seems to really like it a lot.

P: It was just a little over a year after you gave birth to Tessa that you won at Nationals. How were you able to get back into that kind of shape? And, what is your message to moms trying to get back into shape after Baby?

DT: Make sure you do stuff while you’re pregnant. I’ve always loved exercise. I’ve always loved the way it’s made me feel—releases stress. I love the way it makes me look. [Pregnancy] was really hard for me at first because I wasn’t swimming, I was just going to a gym and I kept getting sick. Until I thought I can swim! I get sick in the gutter and I can just keep going. I gained 35 pounds, but it was all here [in the belly] and within two or three weeks it was all gone. I got back in the pool about a week and a half after giving birth and then swam at the meet three weeks after giving birth. Again, it’s a little out of the ordinary. I’m not telling parents to go do that. But I think if you get into fitness and exercise and you do that while you’re pregnant, and not using it as an excuse to eat everything you want and gain weight because you’re pregnant, I think that it’s easier to lose the weight.

Pregnancy Workouts: Best Butt Exercises
Pregnancy Workouts: Best Butt Exercises
Pregnancy Workouts: Best Butt Exercises

P: What was or what is the most challenging thing about being a mom and an athlete?

I think the most challenging thing is finding a balance. You look at working parents and they’re working kind of like I’m training. I really look to working parents out there as my inspiration.

P: What is your favorite part about being a mom?

DT: That it’s not about you. You know? That you’re taking care of this little thing that has unconditional love for you and you have unconditional love for them. And it’s just a great feeling.

P: What is your favorite thing to do with Tessa?

DT: We have a lot of little things we do, but she has two step-siblings now and so I try a date night with her or something special. Up in Massachusetts where we live the schools have half days once every few weeks and I’ll take her out and we’ll go to lunch or the mall or something.

P: And I have to ask the question. There’s a lot of controversy going around about the SI cover with Barbie and whatnot. I know that you modeled for them in the past. Tell me about your choice to do that and your philosophy on this.

DT: I was thrilled when I got asked to [model] because I grew up as a tomboy. I was like in love with all my brother’s friends. They had wanted nothing to do with me because I was such a tomboy. I thought I’m gonna show all my brother’s friends, look who’s in Sports Illustrated now! (And all the girls who thought I was such a tomboy growing up in school.) So to me it was great. I wasn’t into dolls or makeup growing up and so it was new to me being taken care of and dressing up. It was almost like doing something that you missed out on as a kid. The funny thing was that I wanted to wear the hot sexy suits and they kept putting me in speedos and I was like, “I don’t want this! I want two pieces! I want to look hot!” There’s stuff out there that some people like and some people don’t like and this is their tradition and they’ve done it every year and it’s gotten a little more raunchy and risqué, but it’s once a year. If the girls don’t think it’s right or their parents don’t think it’s right then they won’t do it. I’m more for freedom of expression and speech.

P: We’re at the tail end of the Winter Olympics. The next thing is Rio. Is there any sort of camaraderie between Winter Olympians and Summer Olympians?

DT: I went and gave a talk to the women’s hockey team before they left for Sochi. The sports are so different; the trials are so different, but I think you find the athletes in the Summer Olympics really cheering on the Winter Olympians because you know what they’ve been through, you know how hard they’ve worked and the competition and the nerve before you compete.

P: Tell me about Rio. Where can we expect you?

DT: Hopefully sitting on my couch watching and cheering everyone on. I’m done competing. I think when I went to my last trials and missed the team by 9/100 of a second, that was kind of it. My time was still good; it’s just that the girls are getting that much faster. I just thought it was time for me to sort of move on and be there a little more for my daughter and for my stepkids. I’m very happy.

Kick off your countdown by browsing the latest swimming gear at Shop Parents.

Photograph: Courtesy Mike Comer/ProSwim Visuals

Add a Comment
Back To GoodyBlog

Olympian Sarah Hendrickson’s Unbreakable Daddy-Daughter Bond

Thursday, January 30th, 2014

Just before her flight to Sochi, Parents caught up with 19-year-old Olympic ski jumper Sarah Hendrickson. Inspired by her father, Bill, Sarah started Alpine skiing at age 2 and then followed in her older brother and father’s footsteps into ski jumping at age 7. Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes recently released a study showing that sports are a prime way for dads and daughters to bond. Sarah and Bill each took time to chat with us about Sarah’s dreams as a young athlete and how skiing helped to bring father and daughter closer than ever.

P: Congratulations on your huge accomplishment making this year’s Olympic team, not to mention the first team in your sport! What was the first thought that went through your mind when you find out you were going to Sochi?

SH: It’s been my goal since I was little and when I had my knee injury my dream kind of seemed to flash before my eyes. But I worked hard and luckily I rehabbed just in time. Obviously just super excited to represent Team USA and compete at the highest level. I don’t think I really realize it at the moment how big it is historically, but it’s really exciting.

P: And, Bill, tell me what you’re feeling. 

BH: It’s a dream come true. Who would’ve asked for anything this tremendous and awesome? A lot of it hasn’t sunk in and I don’t think it really will until maybe I set foot in Russia and see all the fanfare. It’s just gonna be tremendous to see Sarah at the venue with an elite group of jumpers and to see how she can do.

P: How is it to have a child who is so determined to achieve her dreams?

BH: It’s pretty inspiring, right? As a parent we try to inspire our children so when things flip and you realize my child is inspiring me, that’s pretty impressive. You kind of ask yourself, where does that come from? What gives her that drive? I carry passion for life and passion for skiing and maybe I’ve passed some along to her. I’m just so impressed with her. She takes the time to be the best she can be within her sport. It just warms my heart to find that she seeks that thrill and that joy out of doing what she loves to do.

P: When Sarah was younger, when it wasn’t clear yet that she was destined for the Olympics, how did you manage to balance a healthy encouragement of her talent without stepping into pressurized territory?

BH: Most parents probably don’t think about raising a child to be an Olympian and I certainly didn’t either. It was just a matter of doing what you love to do and having fun doing it. I would do my best to encourage my kids to get out of bed on Saturday mornings so we could go up to the mountain and go skiing. Then it kind of just naturally evolved. Because you have fun you want to go back and do it again and again and again.

P: Sarah, your dad was a ski jumper. Were you drawn to jumping because of your dad?

SH: He jumped when he was in high school. My dad really helped me get my start when he taught me how to ski at the young age of 2 here, in Park City. He loves bringing me and my brother out and enjoying the snow and the outdoors with me, so when I wanted to start ski jumping, of course he was super excited that I was following in his footsteps and also in my brother’s.

P: Do you think ski jumping brings the two of you closer together?

SH: What brings dads and their daughters more together is that athletic bond. It’s really important to have that bond with my dad. He supports me in every way and we still love going out skiing together. He obviously didn’t jump after high school, but he always says how proud he is of me and how crazy I am for jumping the hills that I’ve jumped. I’ve jumped further than he ever did. We share the love of skiing and we have so many memories of going on ski vacations.

P: How is the father-daughter relationship different from the father-son relationship in your house?

SH: I guess I’m Daddy’s little girl. He thought having a girl, I would be a little princess, but I have a tough side to me obviously.

BH: As Nick was going through adolescence, as a father-son relationship he just needed some more space. But with Sarah, I think we got a little bit closer as she’s been going through that 15-19 range.

P: Do you think your dad ever worries about you as his little girl?

SH: He definitely gets nervous, as well as my mom. They’re the ones at the bottom peaking through their hands as I jump at World Cups or World Championships when they both came and watched. I think they get more nervous than I do.

P: Is that true? Were you ever fearful for either of your kids to ski jump?

BH:  Not particularly. I have a sense of what it is and what it’s about and that under the right conditions it’s reasonably safe. It’s not without risk, but I’m a bit of a risk-taker myself so I can appreciate that they take some risk. In terms of damage to the body because women are different from men, I would say not a concern. But I did have the concern that, Sarah being just under 100 pounds, she doesn’t necessarily have the strength Nick does to deal with conditions that aren’t ideal. What she does have is amazing body control and finesse and smoothness and grace that usually more than makes up for any concerns I would have. She is Daddy’s little girl, but great things come in small packages. She’s a tremendous little athlete.

P: How were you feeling when she got injured?

BH:  It pained me to have her going through such agony. It was almost like we were one. She’s feeling pain, I’m also feeling the same pain for her. As parents we don’t want our children to suffer any pain. So that was tough, plus I knew she had aspirations to go to Sochi and just the uncertainty of all that. Could she recover 100 percent? Could she recover in time? Would she be able to jump again? Would she experience the same level of joy that she did previously now that she’s crashed?

Learn about sports injuries and how to prevent your child from sustaining one with this video.

Sports Injuries
Sports Injuries
Sports Injuries

P: What is it about a sport, specifically, that lends itself to strong father-daughter bonds?

BH: Sports seem to really allow dads and daughters to spend time together. Participating in a sport, you have to let other things fall away and that passion comes out and it just opens up and exposes who we are as human beings. You really let the real you come out. I think that when we allow ourselves to be authentic with each other, whether it be dads and daughters or fathers and sons, that creates a special bond where we can know each other authentically and accept each other.

For more news on dads, daughters, and bonding with your kids, sign up for our Parents Daily newsletter.

Add a Comment
Back To GoodyBlog

Winter-Sport (And Family Life!) Advice From Olympian Picabo Street

Monday, January 13th, 2014

2013 Photography by Robert W Gilliard of Eppicmoments.com

To gear up for the bi-annual Olympic festivities, Parents checked in with Olympic gold medalist, World Ski Champion, and mother-of-four Picabo Street. Juggling her work with the U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC) and her four sons (Eli, 10, Treyjan, 9, Dax, 4, and Roen, 2) is no easy task, but nothing gets this gal motivated like the games!

P: Do you watch every Olympics with your kids?

PS: Absolutely. In Torino [Italy, 2006] I was there, and in Vancouver [Canada, 2010] I was there with two of my children. This year unfortunately I won’t have my kids with me, but I will be there with FOX Broadcasting and the U.S. Olympic Committee and Ski Team. I am infected with the Olympic bug and will be a huge fan forever.

P: Do your kids have Olympic fever, too?

PS: They definitely get it, especially the older two who are 10 and 9. They started to ask some big questions about it: where certain countries are and what sports come out of them. We go online and they can send a well-wish to the athletes or donate money or buy mittens that will benefit the team through the U.S. Olympic Committee sponsor programs. Through Citi Every Step, my 10-year-old voted on my initiative [promoting injury prevention and awareness for Olympic skiiers and snowboarders]. You see all the Olympians that are in the Citi program and then the kids feel really close to it. They know athletes by name and sport, so when we watch the Olympics we’re into it. They’re just counting down to the Opening Ceremonies in February.

Kids' Olympics
Kids' Olympics
Kids' Olympics

P: Is skiing their favorite winter Olympics sport?

PS: Trey likes the bobsled, the skeleton, the luge, all of those gliding sports. Trey and Eli love the skiing because they can relate. Three out of the four do ski. The youngest was only 2 last year when we were in Park City in March. I think that hockey is probably also a favorite.

P: What do you say to moms who might think that skiing is too dangerous for their kids?

PS: Get yourself out of the way and don’t put yourself in your kids’ shoes and automatically assume that their strengths and weaknesses are yours. That’s one of the most difficult things that parents have to do is to get themselves out of the way of their child. They are their own person and they are capable of potentially more than you are. If they’re gung-ho, make sure you or somebody with experience can guide them along the way so they are safe while doing it. Skiing is a great family vacation, I know it’s expensive but it’s like no other family vacation. It’s such a safe place to let your kids be free.

P: Are there safety precautions that you take with your boys as they ski?

PS: First and foremost is to wear a helmet, dressing them for success. I made sure they knew how to stop. We taught them speed control and how to make quality turns before we took them over to the chair lift. The next thing was teaching them etiquette of the resort, and that’s something we still work on. Eli, my oldest, was relentless. His persistence was very inspiring.

P: How do you ensure that your kids enjoy sports while still taking it seriously?

PS: You gauge off of them. You can tell what kind of motivation they need; whether they like tough love (like I did) or if they need a softer, more praising touch. From personal experience, competing at that level, we were all willing to do more than the next gal or guy in order to get it done and win. We didn’t have to be told. It was just something that we do. I grew up with “good better best never never rest til my good is better and my better is best.” I have to actually be careful not to step on my kids toes too much with who I am and what I’m about and what I expect of myself. I try to let them be them.

P: Do you ever worry that they might put pressure on themselves because you have accomplished so much? 

PS: Of course, you worry about everything as a parent. I don’t really believe that I or anyone else has that much control, or any for that matter, over what our children like, what they’re interested in, and what they want to become. I can tell you my mom played 26 instruments all self-taught, I can barely hold a tune and cannot play a single one. All of my kids are musical, go figure. Why wasn’t I a musician? I’m just going to encourage my kids to follow their dreams and aspirations and do what they love. If it happens to be Olympic bound, here we go. If not, I’m fine with that, too. With four of them, my odds are good that we could be at the Olympics again.

P: How do you keep your boys effectively bundled in the cold weather?

PS: Layers. Layers. Layers. I dress the boys in layers and make them easily accessible so they can go to the bathroom while they’re up there and feel comfortable. Eli is alright with wool against his skin, but it itches Trey, so we go with silk or a polypropylene for him. Roen is the same as Eli. I like wool, polypropylene, cashmere and then fleece and then the outer layer is the key. It needs to have two components in it. It needs to have down and it needs to have a windbreak. With those two in the outer layer, you really don’t have to bulk them up too much inside. It keeps them from having a stiff-armed snowman feel all day. If it’s really cold you can change their temperature by what you put on their hands and head. Go gloves or mittens depending on the temperature. You can also just wear a helmet, or you can do a light little beanie super thin up underneath the helmet and cover the ears. If it’s super cold, you can put a neck gator on with a face mask and bundle all the way up. Make sure you’ve got sunscreen, sunglasses or goggles and water. Lots of H20. You have to watch the water intake. That’s key.

P: Your kids all have such unique names. How did you choose them?

PS: Treyjan I named after the Roman emperor. On his father’s side he’s the third Newt [Trey is a nickname for "the third"] and his dad and I just really thought it was a cool name. Eli is biblical, my husband chose it that way. Dax is a little French town and it was a kid in my class growing up and I wanted an ‘x’ in his name and I landed on him. I wanted his initials to be early in the alphabet, too, so I landed on Dax and my husband, John, agreed. Roen’s was tough. Dax and Eli’s names were early in the alphabet, I wanted Roen’s name to start with something close to Trey so I bounced around the S’s and the R’s. We finally landed on Roen. John said without the w. And I said R-O-E-N and he said love it.

 

Check out our Baby Names app to help you find names just as fitting as the ones Picabo and John chose for their kids.

 

P: Eli, your oldest, is your stepson and your husband, John, is Trey’s stepfather. What is your advice for parents merging two families?

PS: Definitely unconditional love. We also have to get over ourselves and really see our kids for who they are. I had to really get to know Eli and then earn his trust. Also, the best thing for someone who you’re new to and who is new to you is to be predictable and consistent. The more consistent you are the more stable your relationship is, the stronger it gets. Honestly, Eli and I have worked really hard to have a really strong bond and we can talk about everything and anything. It’s rock solid. As far as Trey and Eli went, merging them, that was tough. I wanted to protect Trey from the way Eli is because Eli is dominant, a real alpha, and he’s boisterous. Trey is sensitive; he’s harmonious. Eli would kind of beat up on Trey and I would get protective. When I talked to some of my expert resources, they told me ,“Eli is gonna toughen Trey up and Trey is gonna soften Eli and they’re gonna land somewhere in the middle and it’s gonna be a beautiful thing so unless they’re really going at it let them work it out.” It got easier when Dax showed up because he was a true brother to both of them.

P: Do you have plans for another?

PS: No ma’am. We gave up on having a girl with Roen. It is a lot to handle, but it’s an even sports team because there are six of us.

P: What is your best advice for other moms who travel a lot and might spend a lot of time away from their kids, as you do with your speaking engagements and your activism work?

PS: Take care of yourself and try not to beat yourself up too much for being gone and being someone who contributes to the family, and who pursues their dreams at the same time. Easier said than done. I leave notes when I go. I make sure to call and participate at the really important times during the day. I try to Facetime and Skype with them, so I can really see them and get a feel for them as much as possible. One of my goals is to talk to my kids and my husband first thing in the morning every day. The bottom line is to be honest with them about where I’m going, what I’m doing and why so that they understand. What’s tough is when I say “bye-bye” and then Dax says “But Dad, you’re staying with us right?” And I just think oooooooh. I’m picky about what I leave home for these days and my kids know I’m leaving for important things. They know all about the work that I do with the US Olympic Committee and with the sponsors and specifically now with Citi to make a positive difference in the next generation of Olympians’ lives. That’s what I am proud to go be a part of these days.

Sign up to get activities, crafts, and parenting tips sent right to you inbox.

How to Protect Baby's Skin in Winter
How to Protect Baby's Skin in Winter
How to Protect Baby's Skin in Winter

Add a Comment
Back To GoodyBlog