August 8, 2012
When you think of an Olympian, what comes to mind? Podiums, flags, cheering crowds and gold medals.
How about diapers and pacifiers and screaming babies?
Many athletes struggle with the demands of their sport; many women struggle to balance the demands of motherhood. To manage both seems a task beyond words but that is exactly what close to a dozen women have been doing this spring and summer to prepare for the Olympic Games in London. These are the Olympic Moms.
For the past four and a half years, I have been talking about a personal project documenting these Olympic Moms. For the past 3 months, I have working with an amazing team in Danielle Elliot and Kerry Caiafa and have been shooting the project. It was worth the wait!
From the first shoot in Colorado Springs, Colorado with Army Captain, Olympic pentathlon hopeful and new Mom, Mickey Kelly, it has truly been one of the most remarkable journeys of my professional career. I spent over 14 hours with Mickey and her family on our “day in the life” coverage of her quest to make it to London for the Olympic Games. 14 hours! I dont normally get 14 minutes for my shoots!
From Colorado, it was on to Pennsylvania to meet up with Laura Kraut and her 14 year old son Bobby at the Devon Horse Show. This Olympic Mom won gold in Beijing and was hoping to repeat the honors in London. Keli Smith Puzo, a US field hockey player, also competed in Beijing but since that time, she has had 2 kids. We spent the day with her and her sons Xavi and Ian as Keli trained at the University of Maryland.
With three shoots under our belt, we head west to California for an Olympic Moms marathon; 5 moms in 6 days. First was a member of the Womens USA Basketball Team – Candace Parker and her little one Lailaa. We spent almost a full day with this dynamic duo and then met up with archer Khatuna Lorig and her son, junior archer Levan Onishvili. Keep an eye out for this mother, son team in Brazil in 2016; they are hoping to be the first parent child pair to compete together. Lashinda Demus was just off a plane when she met up with us. She then went the extra mile to do an interview at the track where she trains on what should have been an off day. Tayyiba Haneef-Park and Danielle Scott-Arruda welcomed us to a July 4th picnic where these Olympic Moms spent the afternoon with their little ones.
The hospitality and generosity of each of these Olympic Moms was truly astounding and it is something for which I am truly thankful.