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Emotional Olympic Family Moments


Over the last two weeks of the Olympics, I’ve noticed a few particularly emotional moments with families.  Perhaps there are others you recall besides just these.  The ones listed below made a lasting impression on me.  Most of them involved tragedy and disappointment, but some are infused with sweetness and love.  I hope you enjoy and appreciate reading about these athletes and their families.  If you want to share other memorable family moments, please post them below.

  • A Georgian luger suddenly and tragically died on a practice run the day of the opening day.  TV coverage reported the luger’s body returning to his homeland, showing video of his grieving father.  Dealing with my child dying on a worldwide stage when I’m on the other side of the world — that makes my heart sink.  That would be such a tough and unusual combination of personal grief and global infamy.  So many hearts reach out to that young athlete’s family right now, including mine.
  • A skier from Germany, Maria Riesch, won a gold medal on Friday in the slalom race.  The twist — her sister also competed in that race and didn’t finish because she crashed off the course.  One was devastated, one was elated.  The heartwarming finish — the gold medal winning sister made the selfless choice to console her devastated sister first before acknowledging her own accomplishment.  There’s always time for celebration, but getting support when you really need it is truly priceless.
  • If you watched any of the women’s figure skating this past week, you undoubtedly heard about the family tragedy for Canada’s Joannie Rochette.  Her mother died of a sudden heart attack just two days before the competition.  Joannie made the courageous decision to go ahead and perform in the midst of her grief.  She channeled these powerful emotions into her performance and got resounding emotional support from the entire audience.  On ice, she gave brief but heartfelt tribute to her mother by looking and gesturing upward.  She still has her grief to face when she goes home with her father, but what courage in the moment.  Hard not to shed a few tears while watching her.
  • And the final one, the P&G commercial I saw on Sunday about the only thing better than being a U.S. Olympian — being a U.S. Olympian’s mom.  Four or five enthusiastically screaming moms at various events, and the last one could be seen yelling, “That’s my baby!”  Oh…you know me and tears.  Since I could not find that commercial on video, here’s an equally tear jerking commercial:

Probably many more significant family moments I have missed in this post.  I’d love to hear about what you remember.  Please share any other family Olympic moments that made an impression on you from the past two weeks, or share your comments on the ones I wrote about above.

Creative Commons License photo credit: adrian8_8

Emotional Olympic Family Moments

Erika Krull, MS, LMHP

Erika Krull, MS, LMHP is a practicing licensed mental health counselor in Nebraska.

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APA Reference
Krull, E. (2010). Emotional Olympic Family Moments. Psych Central. Retrieved on May 25, 2020, from


Last updated: 28 Feb 2010
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