By Joo Lee, NBC News producer
With the Olympics just days away, excitement is building! There are a few people who may well be even more nervous than the athletes. As Robin Gorog, mother of snowboarder Gretchen Bleiler, describes it, "It is equal parts incredible pride, incredible love and an incredible stomach ache!" I asked her and a few other "Olympic moms" to tell us how they're preparing themselves and what advice they're giving to their kids. Our mom squad includes: Robin Gorog, mom of snowboarder Gretchen Bleiler; Eileen Hamlin, mom of luger Erin Hamlin; Linda Krohn, mom of alpine skier Lindsey Vonn; Linda Marsicano, mom of speed skater Trevor Marsicano; Pat Teter, mom of snowboarder Hannah Teter.
Robin Gorog (Gretchen Bleiler): "The biggest thing Gretchen has to deal with is how big the Olympics are and how not to let her nerves get in the way. Since she went to the Olympics in Torino (who gets to go to the Olympics once much less twice!), I have told her to look at this as the BONUS ROUND and to just try to take deep breaths and enjoy every minute of it."
Eileen Hamlin (Erin Hamlin):
"With all the hoopla of the next few weeks, stay true to who you are and where you're from. If pressure is looming, let your coaches step in, and as always, have FUN, slide fast."
Linda Krohn (Lindsey Vonn): "
I'll say that I don't give Lindsey any advice - she's doing GREAT, so I wouldn't mess with success!"
Linda Marsicano (Trevor Marsicano):
"Follow your head and your heart! Remember the journey - the highs and lows - that got you to this point. Don't take for granted the privilege it is to skate for your God, your country, and your family."
Pat Teter (Hannah Teter):
"I feel I shouldn't (and don't) give her any advice about competing. All I can do is be there to support her in the wonderful young woman that she is, and remind her how much we love her, no matter what."
WHAT DO YOU WANT AMERICA TO KNOW ABOUT YOUR CHILD?
A young Gretchen Bleiler (photo courtesy of Robin Gorog)
Robin Gorog: "America should know that Gretchen is a very normal young woman, who came from a very normal background. She set her sights on competing in the Olympics when she was very young and she put in the hours and worked and did what it took to get her to Torino and now Vancouver. If that meant being on the hill when all her friends were at the movies, that's what she did. Any young woman who works hard and sets her goals high can succeed."
Eileen Hamlin: "America should know that Erin is the local athlete, the kid down the block, your son, daughter, brother, sister, cousin, teammate, niece, nephew, that found a passion, worked hard in all areas of her life for many years and has realized her focus and determination have paid off. She is an Olympian."
Below: Erin Hamlin (photo courtesy of Eileen Hamlin)
Linda Krohn: "I think America has been seeing what a humble, gracious person Lindsey is. She's done that all herself."
"Trevor is an example to all kids who have been bullied in school and suffered from depression that there is hope! You don't have to let the bullies define who you are and depression is nothing to be ashamed of. There is always someone out there who cares and wants to help - don't give up. Dare to reach out and ask for help! YOU MATTER AND ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE!"
"That we are so proud of all the wonderful things she has done with her celebrity status of being an Olympian and being a role model for others. She has committed herself to help others and has become an inspiration to all of us to do the same in whatever way we can."
At left: Hannah Teter (photo courtesy of Pat Teter)
GOOD LUCK CHARMS? PRE-GAME RITUALS? LAST-MINUTE PREPS?
Robin Gorog: "I try not to throw up... I have told her there is no reason for her to be nervous as I am nervous enough for both of us!"
"Several good luck items will be traveling with me, such as my 1980 winter olympic snow pants, (yes, they still fit), a lucky sweater given to me before the last olympics by Erin's former teacher, my secret gold foil (long story), and a lucky coin given to me when we found out the games were in Vancouver, (same gentleman had given me a Lire before Italy)."
"I do have a ritual of watching her in every race - getting up at 3 or 4 in the morning requires it's own ritual - and the music alarm turned WAY UP! And I always say a prayer before every run; that is the only way I can watch her! And my cat, Cocoa, sits on my lap (right by the fire place) in front of the computer. I scream if she wins and Cocoa jumps off - that has been happening a lot lately!"
Below: Lindsey Vonn (photo courtesy of Linda Krohn)
"I have to say that our faith is our guide and our ritual is praying! Our last minute preparation is to remember that it took everything we had to get him there and he was worth it. Our goal was to give Trevor the opportunity to achieve his dream and we will share the Olympic experience through him, and are grateful for the technology that will allow us to do so."
Below: Trevor Marsicano (photo courtesy of Linda Marsicano )
"Prayers for safety and peace for my competitive children, and wearing my Team Teter shirt."