Cronkite Header

Cronkite News has moved to a new home at Use this site to search archives from 2011 to May 2015. You can search the new site for current stories.

Olympians thank moms, raise money for next generation

Email this story
Print this story

LONDON – They are there to soothe bumps and bruises and be a personal alarm clock on early mornings, a supporter at long practices, a chauffeur for far away games and an encourager after a loss.

U.S. Olympic 100-meter runner Tyson Gay and beach volleyball player Kerri Walsh Jennings agree: Their mothers were with them their whole journey.

“My mom inspired me a lot,” Gay said. “There’d be times we’d get out on the street and she’d race us and beat us and tell us how fast she used to be. I think that’s what pushed me along.”

Jennings is glad her parents were athletic and introduced her to sports.

“I was born to this family who embraced sports,” Jennings said. “My mom, she is little but she is mighty and she is the biggest champion in my life and my father is this tall giraffe, gazelle beautiful athlete of a man, and I wanted to be my parents.

“I want to make them proud, and the accessibility, just the fact they put sports in front of my face and gave me the options, was huge for me.”

As an Olympic worldwide partner, Procter & Gamble has used a “Thank You Mom” campaign to raise $5 million to enhance youth sports.

That goal was supposed to be reached by the end of the Olympics, but it has already been reached.

“P&G decided to add an additional amount, $25 million, that’ll also be focused on youth sport development,” said Timo Lume, managing director of International Olympic Committee Television and Marketing Services.

Marc Pritchard of P&G, Gay, Jennings, Great Britain Olympic high jumper Robbie Grabarz, Great Britain Olympic marathon runner Paula Radcliffe and five-time Canadian Olympian Charmaine Crooks announced the new donation goal for the remainder of their 10-year IOC partnership at a press conference Thursday.

“When you look closely into any athlete’s story, including my own, you also find something else, the very first place we discover the joy of athletic competition, humble neighborhood sports programs,” Charmaine Crooks, five-time Canadian Olympian said.

Because P&G is an Olympic partner, half of the money donated goes to the Olympic Games while the other half goes to different national committees to give to their sports programs.

“We’re sending kids to sport camps in Eastern Europe,” Pritchard said. “We’re donating sports equipment across Latin America, supporting sports programs in China and funding programs for Olympic hopefuls in the United States from archery to water polo.”

Donations are a portion of every purchase of participating leadership brands, like Pampers, Tide and Pantene.

The company also wants to promote healthy lifestyles.

Radcliffe said a healthy lifestyle is important, along with morals, teamwork, confidence and being in tune with one’s body. All can be learned through athletics.

“For that reason, I’m really passionate about introducing sport to as many children as possible, not just my own kids,” Radcliffe said. “I do think it can change lives and make an immense difference.”