Let them live their dream: Parents of 'Fab Five' offer advice

The proud parents of the U.S. women's gymnastics team talks with TODAY's Matt Lauer and Savannah Guthrie about what it was like to see their children accomplish their dreams and share advice for parents of future Olympians.


They may be young, but Gabby Douglas, McKayla Maroney, Aly Raisman, Kyla Ross and Jordyn Wieber are the true golden girls of this Olympics; the fab five U.S. women's gymnasts, or "fierce five" as they are also called, won the first gold for the United States in their event since 1996. On Wednesday, the quintet joined the TODAY team in London along with their parents, who offered hugs to their daughters and advice to other parents who may have burgeoning Olympians on their hands.
TODAY's Savannah Guthrie told the girls that just as they had watched footage of the "Magnificent Seven" -- the 1996 U.S. women's team -- winning gold in Atlanta, little girls everywhere may watch the Fab Five's 2012 footage and dream of making that reality their own.
Kyla Ross said hearing that gave her chills. "It means everything because we’ve been working so hard, and to have other people watching us means everything. I’m so proud of these girls, and it was such an honor.”
Gabby Douglas paid tribute to her parents. “It’s definitely important to have your mom or your family support you. It definitely hypes you up,” she said. “When you spot them in the crowd, you just feel so honored and so happy and you make them feel so proud. They’ve done so much for us, and I just want to thank them and we love them.”
The girls' parents seemed to still be catching their breath. Jordyn Wieber's mom, Rita, said: “I keep thinking of the word ‘surreal.’ It was unbelievable. I’m so happy for those girls. They’ve worked so hard. I am truly proud of all of them.”

Natalie Hawkins, Gabby Douglas’s mom, said she was thinking of everything the girls had to get through to make their Olympic dreams come true. “To know that they were able to overcome so many struggles and, you know, to be able to be here with them and celebrate in this moment in time is amazing.”
Aly Raisman’s parents have had their time in the spotlight during the games as well; a video of them cheering from the sidelines went viral. During the competition that made the girls gold medalists, Aly's father, Rick Raisman, said, "I kind of learned my lesson the first night not to go too crazy." He said that he's usually "pretty laid back," but when the camera caught him earlier in the week, "it was just kind of one of those locked-in moments and I just let it out.”

Jordyn Wieber, Aly Raisman, Gabby Douglas, McKayla Maroney, and Kyla Ross, known as the "fab five" of the U.S. women's gymnastics team, reveal how it feels to be only the second women's gymnastics team in U.S. history to strike gold.

For parents whose children may have Olympic aspirations of their own, McKayla Maroney’s father, Mike, has some advice: "The best thing a parent can do is just support them and let them live their dream. Don’t make it your dream. It has to be theirs, because if they want it bad enough they’re going to be able to achieve it, and just give them all the tools that can give them that opportunity to have the success that their dream is all about.”


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Discuss this post


So many parents are guilty of putting their dreams on their kids, what a horrible burden for a child to carry if its not in moderation. Yes we all want our kids to succeed and not make the same mistakes we did but what pampered children we would raise if we protected them against any failure. I do see so many children who expect all to be given success and not earn it, these parents obviously have raised their children with the proper balance.

    Reply#2 - Thu Aug 2, 2012 7:48 AM EDT
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