Parenting Olympic Gymnasts

The Olympics are always an exciting time, to see those teenagers and early adults become the best in the world. It’s awe-inspiring.

I want to do that! Ainsley said about her newest Heroine Gou Jing Jing.

Those children train every day from the time they are 3 years old for hours and hours. They don’t go to regular school, they practice and practice and practice every single day. Their parents spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on training, I told her.

Oh, I don’t want to do that, she said.

All that sacrifice – of youth, of fun, of childhood – makes me want to cry when one of them gets injured at the last minute and can’t compete, like poor Chellsie Memmel whose ankle was injured and then she fell from the parallel bars during the qualifying round.

Listening to the bios you realize that, at least at first, shooting for the Olympics is a parental dream. Or, in the case of China, the State’s dream.

Some of the Chinese girls were required to leave their family lives to train for the Olympics because they were inherently extra bendy and flexible or showed innate swimming skills when young.

Some say this is unfair, but my husband says, they were saved from a life of being farm or factory workers.

He has a point.

Some of the American athletes have parents who were Olympians. Mom or Dad won Gold – talk about pressure.

On the bios I heard that many of these teenage girls left their homes to train and one admitted that she has no friends outside the team.

What do you think? Does watching the Olympics make you want to sign your kid up for some hard core training?

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