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Parents sacrifice for possible future Olympians

Published On: Aug 11 2012 01:50:58 AM CDT

NewsChannel 21's Renee Nelson talks to several young Bend swimmers with dreams of Olympic gold -- and the parents and coaches who help get them there, literally.

BEND, Ore. -

The road to London has been paved with Olympic gold. Thanks to Bend's hometown hero, Ashton Eaton. many budding young Olympians have tuned in to the London games and picked their Olympic idols, in hopes that the road to gold may be in their future as well.

But the little ones aren't the only ones who make a commitment to their sport. Parents of gold medal hopefuls also make a huge lifestyle sacrifice.

"Sometimes I drive to the pool three times a day, back and forth ,so they can eat before they come, and then start homework while the other one swims," said mom Jenni Griswold. "It's a lot, we spend a lot of time here."

"Rush, rush, rush to get to the pool -- and then rush home to get dinner on the table," said Becky McKean, a former Olympic Trials swimmer.

We talked to Mark Bernett who coached local Logan Madson from age 5 to the latest Olympic Trials. The Bend Swim Club head coach recognizes the role parents have in fostering the careers of a young athletes. He know it does not only include their time.

"There is a cost involved," Bernett said. "With the swim meets and the training fees, it's not cheap for anyone."

Parents reach deeply into their pockets to cover the costs. According to the coach, travel expenses to a weekend meet, can easily run up to $1,000.

Many parents see the commitment as a lifestyle and don't mind the long hours at the pool. After all, their little ones are hoping to be the next hometown heroes.

"To get to the Olympics I need to train hard for years and years" said one.

"My parents are the ones that push me," said another young swimmer.

"Just going to the Olympic trials would be awesome," said a third.

"I'd like to get gold if I go," said a young Olympic hopeful

Logan Madson swam in this year's Olympic Trials against Michael Phelps, and although he finished only two strokes behind Phelps, he placed 61st.

Bernett told us that those that make it to that level of swimming are the top 1 percent of 1 percent.


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