When Chloe Kim won gold in the women’s snowboard half pipe during the PyeongChang Winter Olympics, her dad cheered her on in the most adorable way. Jong Jin Kim, who quit his job seven years ago to travel with Chloe, clutched a handmade laminated sign that said “Go Chloe” with a pink heart on it. Collectively the world “awed” and fell in love with him.
“You want to make me cry? Show me this picture of Chloe Kim’s dad right before she hits the half-pipe. Yea, that’ll do it,” one fan tweeted.
Matt Jones tweeted: “I mean seriously how great it Chloe Kim’s dad’s sign? He may be my favorite person.”
While Jong Jin’s cheering and sign garnered lots of attention for being so darn cute, Jong Jin is showing off the number one rule of being an awesome sports parent — have a blast. All too often parents forget that watching their child compete, whether it's at the Olympic level or t-ball, should be fun.
“Enjoy it,” said Dr. Deborah Gilboa, a parenting expert. “Embarrass the heck out of them on the sideline as you hold up the laminated sign that you have been carrying around.”
When it comes to sports it’s easy for parents to foist their hopes and expectations on their children. But it’s not about you. It’s about your children.
“Don’t try to live out your sport dreams through your child. Even if they grow to be the Olympic contender you weren’t, it is just too much pressure,” she said.
Linda Lamoureux knows all too well what it’s like to parent Olympic children. Her twin daughters, Monique and Jocelyn, are on Team USA women’s hockey team. This is their third Olympics. The hockey twins, who are 28, have won silver medals in their previous two Olympics. Even though she's a veteran Olympic parent, she still feels stunned by her daughters' accomplishments.
“When you are raising your kids, you don’t really think they are going to be Olympians,” she told TODAY after watching her daughters play against Russia. Jocelyn had two goals within six seconds and an assist and Monique had an assist in the game that the team won 5-0.
“But you never take it for granted.”
The girls started playing hockey because their four older brothers did, and they joined them. At first, Lamoureux encouraged them to play to keep them busy. When Monique and Jocelyn began enjoying it and showing true talent, she continued supporting their dreams. Over the years, she developed a good coping mechanism for watching them play.
“Sometimes I don’t look really closely because it is more nerve-wracking. We cheer a little bit,” she said. “You have to not get worked up.”
When the twins are off the ice, she doesn’t talk to them about their performance. They have coaches, trainers, and teammates that they can chat with about skill and strategy.
“They are very diligent about their training and I don’t need to be involved in that aspect,” Lamoureux said.
But, it's hard to watch her daughters lose. Seeing them after they lost the final game in Sochi to win silver was tough.
“Even though they are silver medalists, they want to be champions,” Lamoureux said.
But she knows it's important to encourage and support them. She recalls telling them:
“Keep your head up. You are a silver medalist and a lot of people would love to be in that position. The most important thing is to be a true Olympian and represent our country,” she said. “(We) are just so proud.”