Local families share Olympic experiences with children

Local families share Olympic experiences with children

Credit: Berens family

Ricky Berens' family poses for a photo.


by NewsChannel 36 Staff


Posted on August 8, 2012 at 10:47 AM

Updated Wednesday, Aug 8 at 11:08 AM

LONDON -- Behind every race, behind every medal, there's a family that got that athlete there.

When Charlotte's Ricky Berens won gold, he gave flower to his mom. 

"He just said, 'here mom, and 'thanks Rick, love you and proud of you,’ Leslie Berens said 

Nick Thoman's family celebrated silver, and Thoman gave his bouquet to his mom Kathy.

“My mom ran on down the stairs and she was right there at the corner,” Thoman said. “So I got to toss her my flowers and that was, that was really cool."  

Ricky Beren's brother Tim didn't go to Beijing but he's in London.
“Yeah, I'm not a big flier,” Tim Berens said. “Thirteen hours a little too much.  This is just a seven hour flight and they said I had to come." 

Despite their journey from Charlotte, the Berens aren't getting much time with Ricky.

Before they compete, athletes don't see their families afterward they're caught up in the media frenzy.

When Ryan Lochte was swimming for gold his family was in London in force -- all dressed up in red, white and blue.

Lochte couldn't see them but told NewsChannel 36 he felt their presence.
"My family is my biggest supporter.  They're my biggest fans and I would do anything for them,” Lochte said.  

When athletes struggle, parents feel their pain too.
"My husband and I, just whatever he wanted, we just did things as a family,” Cullen Jones’ mom said. “The hard part was when he didn't do as well as he wanted to and I just encouraged him to set goals. I gave him 15 minutes to have a pitty party and then after that I said to him, now what could you do differently."  

As the games wind down, some families know the race for a medal is not over.

Many of these athletes have their sights set on Rio and so this family journey continues.

"That love and support has really gotten me through and it's great they get a lot of happiness out of this too,” Thoman said.