Moms Reflect: The Moment I Knew My Child Was Going To Be An Olympic Athlete
5:00 pm, May 8th | by Amy Tennery
Joy Robles was carrying groceries from her car one day when her three-year-old daughter, Sarah, offered to help. Robles handed her a 12-pack of soda.
“She was a little bit off — so I handed her another 12-pack,” Robles recalled with a chuckle.
And then she watched as her preschooler daughter carried a full 20 pounds of soda up a flight of steps into their mobile home. It was in that moment, she said, that Robles knew her daughter was different.
Roughly two decades later Sarah lifted a whole lot more — 114 kilograms, or 251.3 pounds, to be precise. It was the lift of a lifetime, the one that netted her a place at the 2012 London Olympics.
Robles and her daughter, a Team USA weightlifter, shared their story today as part of a panel celebrating Olympic and Paralympic athletes and their moms, hosted by Proctor & Gamble. P&G, which held the event as part of its “Thank you, Mom” campaign, has donated $1,000 each to nearly 800 different mothers of Olympic and Paralympic athletes this year to help defray family travel costs. For Robles and other Team USA moms, that means she gets to see her daughter compete in London this summer.
And while it’s hard to imagine, Robles isn’t the only mom who said she knew her child was a star even before high school graduation.
Ann Weggemann, whose daughter, Mallory, will compete in the 2012 Paralympic games, recalled a fateful conversation with her child’s swim coach.
“Mallory was 8 — she started swimming when she was 7 — and her age group coach pulled me aside at a meet and I thought, ‘Oh no, she’s talking too much again,’” Weggemann said. “[But the coach] said ‘you need to know if Mallory ever decides to work hard and give the dedication to this sport she has an incredible natural talent and can do far with her sport’.”
For Roslyn Eaton, mother of Ashton, a competitor in the decathlon, the moment came when her son’s track coach told her they needed to “have a discussion.”
“It was all about how they believed Ashton could be an Olympian some day,” Eaton recalled. “[I said] ‘What are you talking about?’”
In less than a decade, Ashton would go on to snap up the heptathlon world record.
Image courtesy of Procter & Gamble.