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I have sat on the bleachers through thousands of my three children’s sporting events. Baseball, football, basketball, cheerleading, you name it, I was there. I cheered, I cringed, I cried. My kids won tournaments and championships and traveled around the country on their elite teams. It all panned out for them in college; my son played football, my daughter was a competitive cheerleader, and my youngest will be playing baseball next year at a Division 1 school.
No one could have been more supportive than I was. I drove them to games and practices and workouts. I bought them fancy equipment and sports drinks and reusable ice packs. I feel like no one could have done more. And then I watch the Olympics.
Not to diminish the athletic prowess of my own brood, but these competitors are the real deal. I say we gave up our whole lives for sports. But the Olympians and their mothers, they show us true dedication and sacrifice.
Mikaela Shiffrin is a world-class alpine racer and one of the top slalom skiers in the world. She has the skills, the speed, and the competitive spirit to shake things up in Sochi. And to top it all off, she has someone special right by her side.
Mikaela’s mother, Eileen, is the push behind her poles. From the time Mikaela started skiing at 2 1/2 years old, Eileen has been her biggest fan. She’s not just watching the process. She’s living it. She has sacrificed her life as a “normal” wife and mother for a life traveling the globe with her daughter. She’s on the circuit and on the slopes, making sure Mikaela has what she needs to be the best at what she does.
And Mikaela just may be the best. With a slew of World Cup championships in her back pocket, she’s now on track to be the youngest American to win an Olympic Gold in alpine skiing.
I can’t help but wonder what it would be like to be Mikaela Shiffrin. To be so young and so good. To have sacrificed so much for so long. But, even more, I wonder what it would be like to be Eileen Shiffrin.
Most of us mothers say we’ll do anything to help our kids fulfill their dreams. For me, that was taking time out of my busy little life to play the role of team mom, travel coordinator, and taxi driver for a few fun-filled years. For Eileen Shiffrin, it’s been a full-life, full-time job. She’s lived through the triumphs, the trip-ups, the tears. And hopefully, next week, she’ll get what she deserves. A gold medal for being a truly great mom.
Want to meet this amazing mother-daughter team? Take a look at this video:
What’s your child’s biggest dream come true so far?