Olympic Hopefuls Go for the Gold in Honor of Their Fathers [PHOTOS]
By now we’re all familiar with the Proctor & Gamble (P&G) campaign “Thank You, Mom,” a powerful look at the role mothers play in their child’s Olympic dreams. But mom is not the only one there to encourage, inspire, and coach an Olympic hopeful. These five athletes are competing in this year’s games to honor dad.
Tom Daley: Daley rose to international fame at the 2008 Olympics, competing in diving as Britain’s second youngest male Olympian. Though his father was there to cheer him on at those games, sadly he passed away last year from a brain tumor. As the younger Daley, now 18-years-old, prepares to compete again at this year’s Olympics in London, he hopes to honor his father’s memory. Daley told reporters: “It’s great to know that I have qualified and he will be proud of what I have done.”
Alexander Massialas: This year will mark Massialas’ first time at the Olympic Games, but it won’t be the first time for his father. Dad, Greg Massialas, is not only a three-time Olympian, but the head coach of the U.S. Men’s Fencing Team. Alexander will be participating in both the individual and team foil competitions, coached by his father. He told USA Today, “I really wanted to follow in his footsteps and take it a level further and hopefully earn a medal, a gold one at that.”
Chloe Esposito: Pentathlete Chloe Esposito’s dad is also her coach. He competed in the same sport in the 1984 games and inspired Esposito’s Olympic dream. “Ever since I knew dad did pentathlon I wanted to do it as well,” she told Inside the Games. “I’ve seen all his old photos and he still has his Olympic riding jacket and that makes this even more special.”
David Rudisha: For Rudisha, his motivator is not to be like his father, but to succeed his father. Though he currently holds the world record in the 800 meter dash, he has yet to win an Olympic gold medal. His father Daniel Rudisha won the silver medal in the 4×400 meter relay in the 1968 Olympic Games and David hopes to do better. He told Capital FM, “The first time I saw my father’s silver medal from the Olympics, I really admired it since it was so beautiful and I said to myself, ‘I will one time have mine since that was my dad’s.’ It really motivated me.”
Nastia Liukin: The former Olympic all-around gold medalist for gymnastics Nastia Liukin is hoping for a comeback. She officially retired for two years following her performance at the 2008 games, but with help and support from her father and coach Valeri Liukin, she has her sights set on London. Valeri is more than qualified to coach his daughter, as a two-time Olympic gold medalist himself. “I wanted to be just like him,” Nastia told the St. Louis Post Dispatch, “ever since I knew what the word Olympics meant.”