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And the Medals Go to ...

Every two years, the Olympics are filled with feel-good stories and amazing performances. So this week's a good time to hand out Olympic medals to the best of the best: Those who combine athletic prowess with parenthood to make them truly worthy.

This race has no judges with scores or computer timer to record the winners. It's simply about the parents' character. All judging is subjective.

Bronze: Debbie Phelps. Yes, her son won an incredible eight golds. Yes, she collapsed in the stands when he came from behind to edge out Milorad Cavic in the 100 fly by 1/100th of a second. But this medal goes way back ... to middle school. That's when a teacher told Phelps he'd never be successful. He and his mom have turned it into a family joke -- right where it belongs. Debbie Phelps' parenting advice? "Be there to guide, be there to comfort and be there to give a squeeze and a gentle hug and a kiss," she said. "That's been the delineation of [my] jobs in raising Michael Phelps to be the champion that he is."

Silver: Dara Torres gave birth to daughter Tessa in 2006 and swam her next meet three weeks later. Motherhood well prepared her for Beijing, she said, because having a 2-year-old means always being tired. That makes the time change easier, she joked in an interview on NBC. Life's all about Tessa, Torres says. In addition to defying the odds by winning three Olympic medals at the age of 41, Torres deserves the sportsmanship of the pool award. Just before the start of her semifinal race, a competitor tore her swimsuit and ran off to change it. Torres told the judge and other swimmers in the race to wait for the woman.

Gold: At age 33, gymnast Oksana Chusovitina is ancient in a sport of teens and 20-somethings. And still, she managed to pull a silver medal in vault for Germany. This On Parenting gold, though, is for her incredibly inspiring story. Chusovitina, formerly of Uzbekistan, was a gymnast for the former Soviet Union before the team disbanded. Eight years ago, her son Alisher was born. Five years ago, Alisher was diagnosed with leukemia. Since Uzbekistan has no oncology treatment facilities, Chusovitina looked for other countries around the world where she could find treatment for him. The German gymnastics team turned out to be the life-saver. Chusovitina and her husband -- with lots of help from the gymnastics world and sponsors -- raised the money needed to guarantee Alisher could get treated in the country.

For two years, Chusovitina stayed in the hospital with Alisher while still competing for Uzbekistan. "They told me if I take German citizenship, after three years, everything will be free for Alisher. I think in my place, every mother would do the same thing. The child is first. For me, it doesn't matter if I ever compete in a world championships again; I was only thinking about Alisher. ... Germany gave life to my son," Chusovitina says.

What other Olympic parents have inspired you during Beijing 2008?

By Stacey Garfinkle |  August 20, 2008; 7:00 AM ET  | Category:  Newsmakers
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Comments


"What other Olympic parents have inspired you during Beijing 2008?"

None.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 20, 2008 7:11 AM | Report abuse

The New York Times also had a piece about Deborah Phelps and ADHD. I blogged about it last week at http://themorechild.wordpress.com/2008/08/13/give-that-mom-a-medal/

She sounds a down to earth mom who has laid a solid foundation for her son now that the real craziness is starting (money, fame, four long years until the next Olympics)

Posted by: SwitchedOnMom | August 20, 2008 7:36 AM | Report abuse

In the OP Olympics the following medals are awarded:

Bronze to Anon
Who has nothing to say on a daily basis but occasionally is really funny.

Silver to Sue
For her continuous wallowing in self-pity.

And the Gold to Army Brat

For achieving a new Washpo record for being insufferable.

Posted by: Gymnastics Judge | August 20, 2008 7:47 AM | Report abuse

The New York Times also had a piece about Deborah Phelps and ADHD. I blogged about it last week at http://themorechild.wordpress.com/2008/08/13/give-that-mom-a-medal/

She sounds a down to earth mom who has laid a solid foundation for her son now that the real craziness is starting (money, fame, four long years until the next Olympics)

Posted by: SwitchedOnMom | August 20, 2008 7:36 AM


Extreme Irony alert!

From SwitchedOnMom's blog:


"I’m the mom of two girls–one profoundly gifted (C., early teen), one highly gifted (M., age tween)–living in Montgomery County, Maryland. Along the way C. has homeschooled (kindergarten), attended the MCPS elementary gifted magnet (1st and 2nd grade), our neighborhood school (3rd and 5th grade), a Center for the Highly Gifted program (4th grade), a middle school magnet (6th and half of 7th). And once again we are homeschooling. A month after we withdrew C. from middle school she took the SAT and achieved a perfect score on the verbal section…one of only four children under the age of 13 that year to do so, according to Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Talented Youth. Meanwhile we’re on a different path with M., a completely different animal from C., a child who until very recently has sailed through our neighborhood school from Kindergarten through fifth grade."

Posted by: Laugh of the day | August 20, 2008 7:52 AM | Report abuse

Shaun Johnson's parents are wonderful role models. They are humble, gracious in interviews and their daughter is a model of sportsmanship, grace and charm. I just heard this morning they mortgaged their house twice to afford her training and travel -- probably not unusual for the atheletes but shows that parenting dedication.

Posted by: Pt Fed Mof2 | August 20, 2008 8:10 AM | Report abuse

probably not unusual for the atheletes but shows that parenting dedication.

Posted by: Pt Fed Mof2 | August 20, 2008 8:10 AM

Spelling Police!
Grammar Police!

Posted by: Anonymous | August 20, 2008 8:14 AM | Report abuse

In the OP Olympics the following medals are awarded:

Bronze to Anon
Who has nothing to say on a daily basis but occasionally is really funny.

Silver to Sue
For her continuous wallowing in self-pity.

And the Gold to Army Brat

For achieving a new Washpo record for being insufferable.

Posted by: Gymnastics Judge | August 20, 2008 7:47 AM

Special Award for Awkward Social Skills to
Gymnastics Judge.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 20, 2008 8:17 AM | Report abuse

As director of the Saint Thomas Institute for Nondescript Kids, I would caution you to beware any statistics that come out of Johns Hopkins. Rumors abound that some of those 4 kids have doctored passports.

My research is focused on the profoundly mediocre (I leave the merely highly mediocre to Penn State).

Posted by: to Switchedonmom | August 20, 2008 8:20 AM | Report abuse

Special Award for Awkward Social Skills to
Gymnastics Judge.

I would love to accept this award but the OP rules and regulations specify that bribes may be only in the form of money.

Posted by: Gymnastics Judge | August 20, 2008 8:23 AM | Report abuse

As director of the Saint Thomas Institute for Nondescript Kids, I would caution you to beware any statistics that come out of Johns Hopkins. Rumors abound that some of those 4 kids have doctored passports.

My research is focused on the profoundly mediocre (I leave the merely highly mediocre to Penn State).

Posted by: to Switchedonmom | August 20, 2008 8:20 AM

My kids are too dumb & lazy for admission to your Institute and I don't blog about them.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 20, 2008 8:34 AM | Report abuse

"My kids are too dumb & lazy for admission to your Institute and I don't blog about them."

Have they considered a career in journalism?

Posted by: STINK | August 20, 2008 8:42 AM | Report abuse

"My kids are too dumb & lazy for admission to your Institute and I don't blog about them."

Have they considered a career in journalism?

Posted by: STINK | August 20, 2008 8:42 AM

The White House or Hollywood.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 20, 2008 8:45 AM | Report abuse

Hey...go Nittany Lions.

:)

Posted by: atlmom | August 20, 2008 9:13 AM | Report abuse

I hadn't seen an interview with Shawn Johnson's parents, was kinda hoping to see something about them. I saw them watching the beam competition last night for a second on the screen, but that was all.
Yes, she is pretty well grounded for a 16 YO, in any event.
Nastia Liuken as well - she's held up pretty well. Her coach/dad seems pretty cool.

Posted by: atlmom | August 20, 2008 9:16 AM | Report abuse

"And the Gold to Army Brat

For achieving a new Washpo record for being insufferable.
Posted by: Gymnastics Judge | August 20, 2008 7:47 AM"

I'm flattered, but this seems to be clear evidence of bribery or incompetent judging. I come nowhere close to Marc Fisher, Gene Weingarten, or the now-retired Bob Levey in this category. I'm a mere amateur among those Hall-of-Famers.

Posted by: ArmyBrat | August 20, 2008 9:31 AM | Report abuse

Nastia Liukin's father, Valeri, is, ah, um, not well liked in the elite gymnastics coaching community....

Posted by: Birdie | August 20, 2008 9:32 AM | Report abuse

Give me a break!, why don't we skip the medal ceremonies and national anthems and present the medals directly to the parents? In reality, the most successful athletes probably had someone in their lives that told them they would never be any good. Michael Phelp's teacher was more of a motivating force than mommy's "hugs and kisses". Dara Torres neglecting her new baby three weeks after giving birth to participate in a meet--what is heroic about that? Oksana Chusovitina didn't do anything heroic--she just traded her athletic abilities for free medical care for her son that the REAL citizens had to pay for with their taxes.

Posted by: SpareTheRod | August 20, 2008 9:35 AM | Report abuse

"And the Gold to Army Brat

For achieving a new Washpo record for being insufferable.
Posted by: Gymnastics Judge | August 20, 2008 7:47 AM"

I'm flattered, but this seems to be clear evidence of bribery or incompetent judging. I come nowhere close to Marc Fisher, Gene Weingarten, or the now-retired Bob Levey in this category. I'm a mere amateur among those Hall-of-Famers.

Posted by: ArmyBrat | August 20, 2008 9:31 AM
The awards are for OP Olympics. Open it up to WaPo:

Achenback
Anyone who "blogs" on religion
Singletary
Weingarten

Posted by: Anonymous | August 20, 2008 9:39 AM | Report abuse

. . . also, didn't DT leave her husband for the doctor who was prescribing her fertility drugs to have her child? I recall hearing something like this recently. Anyone know? If true, she's hardly a saint.

Posted by: Re: Dara Torres | August 20, 2008 9:41 AM | Report abuse

I just heard this morning they mortgaged their house twice to afford her training and travel -- probably not unusual for the atheletes but shows that parenting dedication.

Posted by: Pt Fed Mof2 | August 20, 2008 8:10 AM

Irony abounds, given yesterday's conversation. I'm sure they are nice people, but since when is borrowing a boatload of money and mortgaging your family's future the equivalent of parenting dedication? Some parents would have looked at the young lady and said, "this is a delightful hobby, and you show a lot of talent, but we wouldn't be doing the right thing as parents if we mortgaged the family future on the possibility of an Olympic medal." Not every dream should be financed.

Penny wise. Pound foolish.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 20, 2008 9:42 AM | Report abuse

Celeb worship is always risky.
Worship of celebs' parents is even riskier.

Posted by: Duh | August 20, 2008 9:45 AM | Report abuse

". . . also, didn't DT leave her husband for the doctor who was prescribing her fertility drugs to have her child? I recall hearing something like this recently. Anyone know? If true, she's hardly a saint."

Yep. First husband, sports producer Jeff Gowen. Second husband, surgeon Itzhak Shasha. She converted to Judaism prior to marrying him.

She dumped Shasha for reproductive endocrinologist David Hoffman, who's her "partner" and father of her daughter (and who was treating her for fertility issues).

None of which is to say or imply that she's a bad person or responsible for the divorces - none of us knows what was going on in those marriages. But they're part of the story, if Stacey proposes to award her a "parenting medal."

Posted by: Anonymous | August 20, 2008 9:45 AM | Report abuse

The group that comments on the On Faith blog has everyone on every other WaPO blog beat for insufferability.

They are one humorless, insulting, pontificating bunch of turds.

Gymnastics Judge, your hang up with Sue and Army Brat is an indicator that, if we exclude the On Faith commenters from the competition, the "insufferable" title is yours and yours alone.

Posted by: Trina | August 20, 2008 9:48 AM | Report abuse

Slate.com -- the online magazine owned by The Washington Post Co. -- has meticulously detailed this via its "Sap-o-Meter," a running tally of the 33 most syrupy words ("sacrifice," "dream," "courage"). After Monday night's coverage, "mom" was leading in the Sap-o-Meter standings, with 70 cumulative mentions.

Posted by: From "NBC's 100-Meter Profiles" in today's WaPo | August 20, 2008 9:55 AM | Report abuse

You mean Dara Torres isn't a lesbian?

Posted by: Anonymous | August 20, 2008 9:56 AM | Report abuse

"Dara Torres neglecting her new baby three weeks after giving birth to participate in a meet?"

What's the basis for your accusation of neglect? That's a serious charge to make and you seem to make it lightly.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 20, 2008 9:56 AM | Report abuse

for Olympic parenting - there's always the Chinese approach. They identify potentially talented gymnasts (based on body type) at age 3 or 4, and take them away from their families to live and train full time at elite centers. The parents might see their kids once a year or so after that. They go along with it because it's a way for the family to get ahead.

(Sometimes they even give the kids a new birthdate. If He Kexin is 16 years and 8 months old then I'm Methuselah.)

Posted by: m2j5c2 | August 20, 2008 9:56 AM | Report abuse

the "insufferable" title is yours and yours alone.

Sorry, judges are not allowed to accept any awards as I previously mentioned.

And as 9:39 notes

"The awards are for OP Olympics"

You certainly can judge and award medals in other OP events among such catagories are:

Bragging on Average Children

Public Phototgraphy

Blood Storage

Bubble Wrap Parents

Spelling and Grammar


Posted by: Gymnastics Judge | August 20, 2008 9:57 AM | Report abuse

In the OP Olympics the following medals are awarded:

Bronze to Anon
Who has nothing to say on a daily basis but occasionally is really funny.

Silver to Sue
For her continuous wallowing in self-pity.

And the Gold to Army Brat

For achieving a new Washpo record for being insufferable.

Posted by: Gymnastics Judge | August 20, 2008 7:47 AM

What about one for ATB and her "flat" stomach?

Posted by: Anonymous | August 20, 2008 10:28 AM | Report abuse

And the Gold to Army Brat

For achieving a new Washpo record for being insufferable.

Posted by: Gymnastics Judge | August 20, 2008 7:47 AM


What about one for ATB and her "flat" stomach?

Posted by: Anonymous | August 20, 2008 10:28 AM

Insufferable and obtuse category:

atb for "Individual Achievement" - " I have a flat stomach - don't be jealous."
AB for "Lifetime Award" - "My wife is a babe." "I married up." "You don't have a clue."

Posted by: Corky | August 20, 2008 10:51 AM | Report abuse

"I just heard this morning they mortgaged their house twice to afford her training and travel -- probably not unusual for the atheletes but shows that parenting dedication."

I'm going to agree with the anon - dunno if there is anything to applaud in that. For every family that did that and wins a gold there are probably 20 who did that and now have no retirement.

Posted by: moxiemom | August 20, 2008 11:00 AM | Report abuse

My understanding is that Shawn's parents took out a second or third mortgage on their house not for training expenses but to travel everywhere. That seems, I don't know, a bit excessive to me. I understand they want to see their kid compete, but sometimes you just have to say, "Sorry, but flying to Europe to watch you compete in some meaningless dual meet isn't in the budget right now."

Just as a contrast, Canadian gymnast Elyse Hopfner-Hibbs' mother had never seen her daughter compete outside of Ontario before these Olympics, when her company picked up the entire tab.

Posted by: Birdie | August 20, 2008 11:36 AM | Report abuse

I applaud the three moms mentioned by Stacey, but I would've probably given them in a different order with Debbie Phelps getting gold. Almost any parent will sacrifice anything for a child who is seriously ill, but it's above the capabilities of many, if not most, to have a child succeed as greatly as Michael Phelps has, after being told they would never be a success by a teacher. I'm not real crazy about most teachers - they all have preconceived ideas about the capabilities of children based little on the important things, but more on the child being an extremely sedate, robotic, perfect student.

Posted by: Alice | August 20, 2008 12:24 PM | Report abuse

Alice - keep in mind in your criticism of teachers that Debbie Phelps was a... teacher! (She's now the Principal of Windsor Mill Middle School in Baltimore County - see http://schools.bcps.org/schools/cms/windsor_mill/principal.htm for her bio.)

I'm not sure how much stress to put on that "never be a success" comment by a teacher. Michael Phelps was diagnosed as ADHD and acknowledged to be a handful in class. It seems likely that an extremely exasperated teacher blurted some comment during a stressful day. Yes it was wrong for the teacher to say that, but there are different degrees to things. And being a teacher herself, Debbie probably had a better idea than most parents how to deal with the remark.

And Debbie Phelps had already been told by Bob Bowman, the coach at NBAC, that Michael had extremely rare gifts and could achieve remarkable feats - and he told her that when Michael was 11 years old! So there was evidence to disprove the "never be a success" remark already in front of her.

Posted by: ArmyBrat | August 20, 2008 12:37 PM | Report abuse

I'm not sure how much stress to put on that "never be a success" comment by a teacher. Michael Phelps was diagnosed as ADHD and acknowledged to be a handful in class. It seems likely that an extremely exasperated teacher blurted some comment during a stressful day. Yes it was wrong for the teacher to say that, but there are different degrees to things. And being a teacher herself, Debbie probably had a better idea than most parents how to deal with the remark.

Posted by: ArmyBrat | August 20, 2008 12:37 PM

Blatant bias! AB's mother was a teacher!

Posted by: Foul | August 20, 2008 12:50 PM | Report abuse

Sorry Army Brat, It is not the place of any teacher to tell any parent their child will never be a success. This is not the type of feedback that should be considered acceptable (but sadly is) in education, regardless of the child's abilities. That Debbie Phelps was able to handle the comment does not make it right.

Posted by: Siggy | August 20, 2008 12:53 PM | Report abuse

Siggy: "Sorry Army Brat, It is not the place of any teacher to tell any parent their child will never be a success."

And indeed, the teacher in question DID NOT tell the parent that her child will never be a success. She made the comment to the child - from the original article:

``My mom and I joke that I had a teacher, I think in middle school, who told me I'd never be successful,'' Phelps said after breaking Spitz's record.

Read my original post "Yes it was wrong for the teacher to say that, but there are different degrees to things."

The details are not given in the story, but there's a big difference between:

- an exhausted, exasperated teacher blurting out "sit down and be quiet! You'll never be a success acting this way!" at the end of a day
- and a calm, poised teacher meeting with a parent in a private setting and saying "I'm sorry, but your son Michael will never be a success. He just hasn't got what it takes."

Both are wrong, but there are far different degrees.

Posted by: ArmyBrat | August 20, 2008 1:02 PM | Report abuse

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Posted by: And Z | August 20, 2008 1:19 PM | Report abuse

Washington, D.C.: What's your opinion of Phelps as a person, especially now that he's under the media microscope.

Sally Jenkins: I can only give a journalistic impression which is hardly a window into the soul, but here it is. He is a bottomlessly ambitious competitor, who is opaque on the surface and an entirely different person below the surface. His mother says, "Under the water there is another level of Michael," and I think that's very insightful. My experience with other all time greats is that they tend to have a hard center -- they come from not a mean spirited place, but a tough one side. Champions tend to develope out of a state of emotional emergency. Winning is a need.

Posted by: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/discussion/2008/08/19/DI2008081901379.html | August 20, 2008 1:21 PM | Report abuse

Army Brat, Point taken, but I think you are adding to the story. Doesn't sound like your scenario A with an exhausted teacher.

Keep in mind that when teachers say these things, they can have life long consequences absence a counterweight. I am not in the habit of making excuses for exhausted or outright mean teachers, whatever the degree of comments.

Posted by: Siggy | August 20, 2008 1:23 PM | Report abuse

What will Phelps be qualified to do after the cheering stops? He's just an undereducated ADHD.

Posted by: them's the facts | August 20, 2008 1:38 PM | Report abuse

Siggy, looks like I was wrong. Found this story:

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/10/sports/olympics/10Rparent.html?_r=1&oref=slogin

which has way more details, and apparently a long interview with Ms. Phelps herself. Interesting indeed.

Posted by: ArmyBrat | August 20, 2008 1:47 PM | Report abuse

What will Phelps be qualified to do after the cheering stops? He's just an undereducated ADHD.

Posted by: them's the facts | August 20, 2008 1:38 PM

Who has already made more money that you ever will!

Posted by: Anonymous | August 20, 2008 1:49 PM | Report abuse

Who has already made more money that you ever will!

Posted by: Anonymous | August 20, 2008 1:49 PM

And will blow through it in no time flat. He's got nothing to fall back on once his swimming days are over. He can't even string together a coherent sentence.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 20, 2008 1:53 PM | Report abuse

And will blow through it in no time flat

Nope, he is not a NBA or NFL player!

Posted by: Anonymous | August 20, 2008 1:55 PM | Report abuse

"And will blow through it in no time flat. He's got nothing to fall back on once his swimming days are over. He can't even string together a coherent sentence."

Hard to blow through that much money

- he's already making 5 million a year or more in endorsements

- he owns a $1.3 million condo in Baltimore's Fells Point neighborhood

- it's expected that he'll move up to 30, 40 or even 50 million a year

- there's no reason he won't still be swimming in London in 2012

- he majored in Sports Management at the University of Michigan (didn't graduate yet from what I understand)

With Mom being an educator and having a track record of surrounding himself with good advisers, my bet is that he stays in the chips for longer than any of us are alive

Posted by: Anonymous | August 20, 2008 1:59 PM | Report abuse

Maybe Phelps could follow in Johnny Weissmuller's, um, loin-cloth and play Tarzan in the movies?

Posted by: here's a plan | August 20, 2008 1:59 PM | Report abuse

And will blow through it in no time flat. He's got nothing to fall back on once his swimming days are over. He can't even string together a coherent sentence.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 20, 2008 1:53 PM

True. The guy reminds me of Tyson - retarded "hero".

Posted by: Anonymous | August 20, 2008 1:59 PM | Report abuse

majored in Sports Management

Posted by: bwahahahahahaha! | August 20, 2008 2:01 PM | Report abuse

Siggy: "Sorry Army Brat, It is not the place of any teacher to tell any parent their child will never be a success."

And indeed, the teacher in question DID NOT tell the parent that her child will never be a success. She made the comment to the child - from the original article:

``My mom and I joke that I had a teacher, I think in middle school, who told me I'd never be successful,'' Phelps said after breaking Spitz's record.

Read my original post "Yes it was wrong for the teacher to say that, but there are different degrees to things."

The details are not given in the story, but there's a big difference between:

- an exhausted, exasperated teacher blurting out "sit down and be quiet! You'll never be a success acting this way!" at the end of a day
- and a calm, poised teacher meeting with a parent in a private setting and saying "I'm sorry, but your son Michael will never be a success. He just hasn't got what it takes."

Both are wrong, but there are far different degrees.

Posted by: ArmyBrat | August 20, 2008 1:02 PM


Geez AB, can you just shut up for a little bit? You are such a blowhard seeking attention! You probably get no attention from anyone at home or work, thats why you come on here and write 30 pages worth of blog comments full of idiotic nonsense.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 20, 2008 2:16 PM | Report abuse

Geez AB, can you just shut up for a little bit? You are such a blowhard seeking attention! You probably get no attention from anyone at home or work, thats why you come on here and write 30 pages worth of blog comments full of idiotic nonsense.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 20, 2008 2:16 PM

Posted by: pot, meet kettle | August 20, 2008 2:18 PM | Report abuse

How much money will Phelps pay out in child support over the next 18-20 years? Lots of girls want to be his baby's mama.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 20, 2008 2:25 PM | Report abuse


Geez AB, can you just shut up for a little bit? You are such a blowhard seeking attention! You probably get no attention from anyone at home or work, thats why you come on here and write 30 pages worth of blog comments full of idiotic nonsense.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 20, 2008 2:16 PM

I prefer windbag. How can anyone be this socially awkward? What are AB's kids like??

Posted by: Anonymous | August 20, 2008 2:26 PM | Report abuse

AB, Interesting indeed, the kid that can't sit still and perform algebra can calulate lane strokes and times in his head.

I hope the teacher that made those comments is retired and living in another state, and eating some crow pie.

Posted by: Siggy | August 20, 2008 2:27 PM | Report abuse

"I prefer windbag. How can anyone be this socially awkward? What are AB's kids like??"

Oh, the heck with it; there's another interminable conference call. :-(

Sheesh, you're the kind of guy who brings a spork to a knife fight. Don't compare appendages with me, son - you'll show all you've got; I'll just pull out enough to win. You'll be humiliated and still won't know what I've got.

My kids: OP Rule #1 is that we do not brag about our unremarkable children.

"Socially awkward" - don't think so. Got anything else, or are you all out now?

You, on the other hand - when does your semester start? Should be coming up pretty soon, eh? In the meantime, why don't you run upstairs - Mommy's got some Cheetos and Diet Coke for you.

(I know, I know - I shouldn't stoop to the level of the newbies. But sometimes there's nothing else to do - even if I do hate myself in the morning.)

Posted by: ArmyBrat | August 20, 2008 2:39 PM | Report abuse

re: shawn johnson's parents, mortgaging etc.

My SIL was on track to become an olympic gymnast, if she had wanted. My DH and I have discussed this. The only option for her, because of where she lived, was to move to train at another facility, because there weren't any where she lived.

So my DH talks about how his parents talked with her (probably at 10/12???), about how she could move somewhere else, live with someone else, etc, that they weren't moving, etc. It is definitely a difficult decision, I suspect, and I don't think *I* would get two mortgages on the house, but each family is different.

She ended up being courted by many good schools, getting into one that she would not have gone to without the gymnastics. She competed all over the place in junior high/high school, etc. It was obviously fun for her, and I suppose she thinks about how things could have been different. But there are at least a zillion girls out there with the same dream...it's quite competitive...

Posted by: atlmom | August 20, 2008 2:44 PM | Report abuse

Sheesh, you're the kind of guy who brings a spork to a knife fight. Don't compare appendages with me, son - you'll show all you've got; I'll just pull out enough to win. You'll be humiliated and still won't know what I've got.

Posted by: ArmyBrat | August 20, 2008 2:39 PM

I'm a woman, but thanks for the challenge...

Your father really did a number on you.

Posted by: What an ego! | August 20, 2008 2:48 PM | Report abuse


Your insecurity is showing. Go pick on someone your own size, like a millipede. AB is running circles around you and you don't even realize you are standing still.

Posted by: to What an ego! | August 20, 2008 3:02 PM | Report abuse

yeah, i don't know if i would be willing to mortgage my house based on my child's potential. there are so many random things that can happen in life. one of the strange life happens moment & what do you have?

don't know if phelps will be broke in 10 years or not. is carl lewis or greg louganis broke? don't think so. that doesn't mean he can't blow through his money but if it's well protected in trusts & what not then it's less likely.

i have to admit that i haven't been watching the olympics. they just don't interest me.

Posted by: quark | August 20, 2008 3:03 PM | Report abuse

edDon't compare appendages with me, son - you'll show all you've got; I'll just pull out enough to win. You'll be humiliated and still won't know what I've got.

Posted by: ArmyBrat | August 20, 2008 2:39 PM

Closeted gay.

Posted by: LOL | August 20, 2008 3:10 PM | Report abuse

Closeted gay.

Posted by: LOL | August 20, 2008 3:10 PM

Posted by: NTTAWWT | August 20, 2008 3:27 PM | Report abuse

- he majored in Sports Management at the University of Michigan (didn't graduate yet from what I understand)

In other words, Phelps is qualified to be a glorified poolboy once his swimming days are over.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 20, 2008 3:29 PM | Report abuse

- he majored in Sports Management at the University of Michigan (didn't graduate yet from what I understand)

In other words, Phelps is qualified to be a glorified poolboy once his swimming days are over.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 20, 2008 3:29 PM


I'm sure AB wants Phelps to be his personal "pool boy."

Posted by: Anonymous | August 20, 2008 3:50 PM | Report abuse

I'm sure AB wants Phelps to be his personal "pool boy."

Posted by: Anonymous | August 20, 2008 3:50 PM

Look up the word "projection" in the dictionary, then look in the mirror.

Posted by: pot, meet kettle | August 20, 2008 3:53 PM | Report abuse

Altmom, I have a friend who has a 15 year old son that is on track for Olympic trials for 2012 in Men's Gymnastics. His saving grace is the facility he trains with has already churned out 2 Olympians and is 15 minutes away. It is still unbelievably expensive but luckily they are pretty well off and so far have been able to afford everything, including travel for the parents. The next 3 years will be the test.

Posted by: Siggy | August 20, 2008 3:55 PM | Report abuse

That's like saying that Michael Jordan, the highest paid Geography major in UNC's history, will soon be drawing maps. Um, okay, well, whatever.

Posted by: atlmom | August 20, 2008 3:55 PM | Report abuse

While apparently my SIL lived and breathed gymnastics, it was nothing compared to what it would have been if she really had tried for getting to the olympics. My in laws apparently explained this to her, and I doubt it was in the best light, her having 'decided' to not pursue this. It is not easy. I doubt they were willing to throw much more money at it - and they did, believe me.

Posted by: atlmom | August 20, 2008 4:01 PM | Report abuse

Alice - keep in mind in your criticism of teachers that Debbie Phelps was a... teacher! (She's now the Principal of Windsor Mill Middle School in Baltimore County - see http://schools.bcps.org/schools/cms/windsor_mill/principal.htm for her bio.)


Whatever, most teachers are people who can't do anything else and I second the thought of "do you ever shut up"

Posted by: Anonymous | August 20, 2008 4:28 PM | Report abuse

Stick a fork in OP, it's done.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 20, 2008 5:34 PM | Report abuse

Stick a fork in OP, it's done.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 20, 2008 5:34 PM

Can we stick it in you instead and let all the hot air out?

Posted by: Morley Safer | August 20, 2008 9:51 PM | Report abuse

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