Olympics Teens Could Bump Trashy Reality Stars Off Our Kids' Radar

Gabby DouglasGymnast Gabby DouglasThat's it. The 2012 Olympics ended last night with a bang (and some Spice Girls!). But at least one good thing should stick around for awhile: the list of teenage role models we can put up the next time our kids start blathering on about how haaaard they have it.

If it doesn't sound like much to you, it's time to wake up. Kids we actually wouldn't mind our kids mimicking are few and far between. Look at the television, would you?


Do you want your kid to be the next Snooki (shudder)? The next Jenelle Evans (double shudder and run for the shower to wash that off)?

I know, I know, it's a parent's job to be their kid's first role model. I get it, and I am trying with my kid.

But do you remember anything about being a teenager? Your parents and their friends are pretty much the last people you actively think about turning into. They are oooooooold, and you are not. Period.

They look at people close to their age. So we can -- and should -- be good role models, but does it really hurt to have a few people who are actually in their teens to put up in front of them too? I think it can only help. Let's take a look at some of what we've got to work with, courtesy of the London Games

Gabby Douglas -- She became the first woman of color to win the all around gold medal in Olympics at just 16! And get this, Gabby has spent years living far from her parents to go through training. Yet she still manages to have an immense amount of class when facing tough situations like the ridiculous controversy over her hair.

Zoe Smith -- The 18-year-old weightlifter from the UK took a hammering online from bullies who attacked her femininity. And she responded with grace on her blog, coming out as a voice for young girls who are proud to be strong and fit.

Missy Franklin -- The 17-year-old who still swims for her high school team back in Aurora, Colorado has had a lot of pressure to go pro after winning four golds in London. But she's made it clear that getting an education is important to her. She's still college-bound.

Lia Neal -- The 17-year-old is just the second African American woman to gain a spot on the US Olympic swimming team, and in her first year, she already grabbed a bronze medal. She also happens to speak fluent Cantonese and Mandarin. 

This is just a taste; the list could go on, from American teens like gymnast Aly Raisman to Lithuanian swimmer Ruta Meilutyte, all kids who I know I'd rather see on my daughter's wall than some trashy reality star.

How have you been talking about the Olympics in your house? Are there any stars your kids have really been looking up to?


Image via Getty Images/Joe Scarnici

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