The challenges of raising an Olympic athlete

Natalie Hawkins, single mother of Gabrielle Douglas (2012 Olympic All-Around Gymnast Gold Medalist), shares insight on the challenges of raising an Olympic athlete and what she focused on as a mother to keep her daughter grounded and happy.
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The challenges of raising an Olympic athlete

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I think my biggest challenge in parenting an Olympian has been keeping her grounded. Her life was flipped upside down overnight. Everywhere we go people want autographs or they want pictures, and there's a lot of people who are now--we call them the people that always say "yes" to you. And as parents it's important that we set boundaries. It's important that we set rules for our children so that they learn how to live. And I think, for me, it was very important that I show my children by example how to stay grounded and, this is going to sound funny, but the way we stay grounded is we laugh a lot. We don't take life too seriously. We don't take ourselves too seriously. You come to my home and there's a lot of pranks going on. You never know when you're being pranked. So, for me, I wanted to make my home a haven. I wanted my home to be a place where my kids enjoyed being, and I'm happy to say that I accomplished my goal. And raising an Olympian was definitely a challenging thing, but I've said it before and I'll say it again, it's the most rewarding thing that I have ever done in my life. And seeing my daughter thrive, and seeing her enjoy this time, and enjoy each and every level of success that she's experienced has just been, as a parent, my highest achievement; it's my report card.

Natalie Hawkins, single mother of Gabrielle Douglas (2012 Olympic All-Around Gymnast Gold Medalist), shares insight on the challenges of raising an Olympic athlete and what she focused on as a mother to keep her daughter grounded and happy.

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Natalie Hawkins

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Natalie Hawkins is the mother of Gabrielle Douglas, 2012 Olympic All-Around Gold Medalist.  Virginia Beach native and single mother of 4, Hawkins faced many struggles putting Gabrielle through Olympic training, giving up everything she had to see her daughter succeed.  Hawkins allowed her daughter to leave their Virginia Beach home and close family bonds to pursue her dreams, train with Chow's Gymnastics in Iowa, and become the Olympian she is today.  Hawkins has since been honored in the P&G “Thank You Moms” campaign. 

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