At the New York City launch of Procter & Gamble's "Thank You, Mom" campaign, which is helping the mothers of Olympics and Paralympics athletes travel to the London 2012 Summer Olympics, Parents.com spent time with three Olympic athletes -- Ashton Eaton, Diana Lopez, and Sarah Robles -- and their mothers. Although each athlete will be competing in a different sport (the decathlon, taekwondo, and weightlifting, respectively) the three have something in common: They credit their mothers as the secret weapon behind their successes.
"When I'm on the track I like hearing the fans cheer me on," Ashton reveals. "Yet I know my mom is my biggest fan and her support is the most important to me. When I see my mom in the stands, it always pushes me to succeed."
Ashton's heartfelt words bring tears to his mom's eyes. When Ashton was growing up, Roslyn Eaton was a single parent who worked three jobs to support her son. When Roslyn hears the phrase "it takes a village," she knows all too well why that is true.
"I had to rely a lot on Ashton's coaches," Roslyn says. "I was straightforward with them that I was a single mom who had to entrust them with my son. I knew Ashton wanted to accomplish something and it was my job to support his dream."
Sarah Robles also has a story that tugs at your heart. Growing up, she lived in a trailer park with her siblings while their mom, Joy, worked from morning to night to support Sarah's father, who was on dialysis, as well as Sarah's ailing grandparents; there was also the expense of Sarah's training. Even though Sarah can lift 250 pounds with ease, she says the real strong woman is her mom because her strength gave Sarah the motivation she needs to be a winner.
"Despite everything she went through, my mom always taught me to have confidence," Sarah says. "And that translates into making sure I do the best job at being a great friend, daughter, sister, and athlete."
Although getting an Olympic medal and standing on the winner's podium is considered the achievement of a lifetime, these moms conveyed that no matter the outcome, there is more achievement in life than coming in at first place.
"I never tell Sarah to win because I want it," Joy says. "Sarah has to win because she wants it."
All of these moms agree that having fun is just as important. And each of them has made a solemn promise not to pressure her child.
"My mom always told me the more you try, the more you will succeed in everything you set out to do," Diana says. "Because of my mom's compassion, direction, and knowledge, she gives me that extra push to be the best person I can be." Her mom, Ondina Lopez, says, "It is important for Diana to turn the page and move forward if she loses. Diana can't focus on the past. If anything, I want her to have the strength to move forward and focus on the future."
Copyright © 2012 Meredith Corporation.