Two moms start their own (Olympic) torch dreams
BY JENNIFER MIFFLIN AND SUZANNE C. WITT For Sun-Times Media
Five time Olympic champion in gymnastics Nadia Comaneci at the Adidas Olympic Media Lounge at the 2012 London Olympics in Westfield Stratford City. Alex Grimm ~ Getty Images
We were both little girls when gymnast Nadia Comăneci won three gold medals for Romania during the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal. We didn't understand the nuances of the sport, nor were we privy to the Cold War politics associated with the former Eastern Bloc. All we knew was Nadia could fly in a most spectacular, flawless and seemingly-effortless way. She was magic. She even had her own instrumental song, "Nadia's Theme."
After the games, scores of little girls stormed their local park districts to register for gymnastics lessons. We all wanted to be the next Nadia.
Jen even begged her dad to build a regulation-sized balance beam. But once confronted with the 4-foot high, 4-inch wide structure the dream was over. It was too high off the ground, too skinny, too scary.
Do Olympic dreams ever vanish completely? Maybe it's not so much about being a world class athlete as it is about achieving personal success.
This year, we'll be some of the millions of spectators breathlessly reveling in the opening ceremonies of the London Games. The performances, parade of athletes, and lighting of the Olympic Torch will give us goose bumps as the tradition, flame and Olympic theme unite us all in our quest to pursue dreams no matter how big or small. The majority of the world will never know the dedication, skill, pain, and extraordinary circumstances it takes to make it into such an elite category of athleticism and achievement.
We're so excited to watch the games as moms. Although it's too late for us to train for an event, Sue swears we could probably handle competing in tandem trampolines.
Our hope is to transfer some of that desire to our children; not expecting them to become Olympians, but instilling the notion that their job as human beings is to be the best they can be, rising to life's challenges, especially when things get tough.
Dreams of our own
Oftentimes the only thing holding us back from accomplishment is us. After years of participating in a destructive, endless pattern of losing 50 pounds and gaining them back, Jen is committed to getting off the yo-yo train forever - for her mental, emotional, and physical health. It's not solely about aesthetics, but feeling good indefinitely. She also wants her fitness endeavors to be a springboard for Peter and Gigi's athletic goals.
Sue, too, has unrequited fitness dreams. After watching numerous peers run 5Ks and lose inches, she's decided to join Jen on her quest and focus on toning up and getting fit before 40.
For Sue, shedding some pounds would be an added bonus; but ultimately she hopes to challenge herself mentally and physically, lessen anxieties and be a role model for Catherine.
Like Olympic athletes, it takes a team to make monumental goals happen. We don't have ours assembled quite yet, but we have each other for accountability and moral support.
We're drafting a workable plan for how we're going to achieve our goals as a buddy system through the best of times and the worst - when one of us is too tired to work out; succumbs to the cheesy crunchy seduction of a Cheetos bag; or loses focus.
We'll look to other athletes - those in the top echelon of their sport and everyday people with individual triumphs - for encouragement.
Together, we'll provide the strength and courage to never discount our ambitions as trivial.
As Team ChirpyGirls, we're confident we can achieve gold.
We encourage you to follow our progress and see how close to the mark we come.
First step - Adidas' Adizero Feather 2 shoes - worn by Olympians during training runs. Time to at least look the part.