Would you want your kid on a Wheeties box, Renee Septimus wondered here on Kveller. She talked about the kind of things that young Olympic athletes must be giving up to acheive their level of success–school, summer camp, birthday parties, etc.
Renee concluded: I’m glad my children lived “average” lives. They turned into well-rounded, self-actualized adults with many interests, good relationships, and satisfying careers.
As someone who spent several years covering Olympic sports for ABC, ESPN, and TNT, as the older sister and official chaperone of a brother who was the 1996 US Novice Ice Dancing Champion and, last but not least, a mom, myself, I have a different perspective on the subject. Read the rest of this entry →
We all love Aly Raisman, Gabby Douglas, and the rest of the USA women’s gymnastics team. They were the only team I tried to catch when they performed. I don’t enjoy watching sports, but I love ballet and I am astonished at what those young women could do with their bodies. Their movements seem to take dance to another level.
But I wonder–at what cost? What do athletes like Aly and Gabby give up to achieve perfection in their sport? Surely they give up the typical childhood and adolescence most people have. And although when you are going through it, it may seem painful, most of us cherish memories of school, camp, birthday parties, friends. I guess I mean that they miss the balance of a life well-lived. (No pun intended.) Read the rest of this entry →
Not just because the 18-year-old American is a truly amazing gymnast–her teammates like the young phenoms Gabby Douglas and Jordyn Wieber also can claim that title. But Aly Raisman is, in the parlance of our Jewish people, an “aishet chayil“–a woman of valor.
Traditional Jewish families sing the song “Aishet Chayil” to the woman of the house on Friday evenings as they welcome in Shabbat, praising the lady of the house for all the work she does. But I’m going to take it a step further and say that a woman of valor is far more than someone who makes the dinners and sets the tables–it’s someone who sets an example by way of her actions. Read the rest of this entry →
American Olympic gymnast–and, by all appearances, nice Jewish girl–Aly Raisman qualified for the womens individual all-around gymnastic final at the Olympics Sunday night (doing her routine to Hava Nagila, yet!). Big news–but apparently not as big as her parents’ reaction.
The video of her parents’ reactions as Raisman was doing her qualifier round has gone viral, and was posted here at Kveller as well as everywhere else in the world [ed. note: the IOC has blocked all footage on copyright grounds]. Raisman’s parents are transparently stressed out as they watch their daughter. They constantly fidget in their seats, looking, as one commentator noted, as though they were in dire need of a restroom. They move back and forth as though being shaken in a kaleidoscope, their eyes 100% trained on their daughter. They mumble and mutter encouragements (possibly dropping one f-bomb) in a Tourettes-like stream of words. Vanity Fair called their parental reactions “hilarious” and “SNL-worthy.” When watching them, anyone can see that they are clearly completely focused on and invested in their 18-year-old daughter’s performance, finally letting loose with a relieved yell at the end of the routine (thank you, Mr. Raisman). Read the rest of this entry →
Which Jewish parents are the biggest kvellers in America today? That would Lynn and Ricky Raisman, whose 18-year-old daughter Aly Raisman scored one of the two American spots to contend for the all-around title in women’s gymnastics at the London Olympics yesterday. Not only did their daughter score high enough to replace the reigning world champion, Jordyn Wieber, who was a heavy favorite for a gold medal, she performed her floor routine to Hava Nagila. So much nachas!
But the best thing to come out of all of this does not even feature Aly–it’s all about her parents. One genius videographer chose to zoom in on the Raismans during Aly’s bar routine, and the footage that came out of it is pure (Olympic) gold. If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to have your child compete in the Olympics, check it out:
To see her parents in a slightly calmer light, check out this interview with them for NESN.com, in which the key to Raisman’s success is revealed: Mommy & Me gymnastics classes at age 2.