Aly Raisman discussed the impact her parents had on keeping the Olympian focused without causing her to burn out on gymnastics at a young age.
There’s a familiar, unsettling trope that tends to follow gifted young athletes. Behind the driven superstars are their overbearing parents. Adults living vicariously through their children, projecting any and all inadequacies on kids too young to fully process much more than what father and mother say must be right.
Such was the case with Andre Agassi, who, in an autobiography, described his father as man that was violent by nature and used his son to hustle bets on the tennis courts.
Such was also the case with Todd Marinovich, whose father placed a football in his arm and groomed him, from birth, to be the perfect quarterback. Marinovich, who was unaffectionately labeled by some as a “test-tube athlete,” burnt out and has continued to battle his inner demons.
When it comes to American Olympian gymnast Aly Raisman, nothing could be further from the truth. In an interview with the Seth Davis Show, Raisman claimed that her parents were anything but overbearing. They were a rock that helped keep her fire burning without ever pushing.
“My parents didn’t push me at all. That’s the only reason why I survived. I think if they pushed me then I would’ve stopped a long time ago.”
In Raisman’s estimation, there is a clear differentiation between coaches and parents. It’s up to the former to maximize talent, while the latter should be concerned with little more than their child’s well-being.
“You know, it’s the coaches’ job to push the athletes; it’s the parents’ job to support them.”
If only all parents had the same level-headed mindset as the gold medalist Raisman and her familial support system.