Olympics can be real Pain

ALISON KORN, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:19 AM ET

While skeleton slider Jeff Pain prepares for his final Olympic races -- going for that elusive gold medal -- his wife, Aly, wrangles their sons Kyle and Thomas, ages 8 and 6, in the lineup that snakes outside Vancouver's Olympic Superstore store to buy Team Canada gear.

Aly is candid -- she can't wait for all this to be over. Being the spouse of an Olympic athlete, holding the family together in his absence, can be harder than any sport.

"We don't train 10 workouts every six days, but it feels like it," Aly said.

"We don't have to push our bodies to the limit, but it feels like it. They don't see what my kids are like when their dad's been away for six months."

Four years ago, when Aly went to Turin to watch Jeff win an Olympic silver medal, her mother looked after the kids at home in Calgary.

This time around, Aly is navigating the Olympics with the two kids in tow while tracking her husband from afar.

It's a different experience. The little guys don't care about medals -- they just want their dad back.

"They're excited about seeing him but they don't understand what it means," Aly said. "They don't know what it's like to be in a race where there's thousands and thousands of people.

"I've told them there'll be lots of TV cameras in their faces. There'll be lots more standing in line and a game of patience and we'll get to see Dad, and we haven't seen Daddy in over three weeks."

In their 15 years together, the Pains have learned the hard way about thriving in stressful situations and building a sustainable and successful partnership.

Their new book, The Business of Marriage and Medals, is being printed right now. Billed as "an athletic story with a twist," one would have thought the final chapter would be written this week.

But no, it's already at the printers and the Pains have dug in to their line of credit to print the first 1,500 copies, such was the immediate demand.

"The Games, etc., will be book number two," said Aly, who works as a career coach, team performance coach and life coach. "There'll be something else to share with all the relationships out there which have gone through a significant transition, which is what we'll be doing."

Journey ending

After Turin, the couple discussed whether Jeff would continue in the sport for another four years. They decided to take it year by year and here they are. Their journey is just about over now.

"I'm very excited for Feb. 20, when our life will be no longer be measured by a number, because we're more than a number, we're more than an event," Aly said. "I'll be glad when people stop asking: 'How did he do, how did he do?'"

At the same time, she knows that Vancouver is exactly where their family is meant to be right now.

Soon, they'll all be back home together.

But right now -- oops! One of the children needs an urgent bathroom break. Talk to you later. Oh, and good luck to your husband.

Thank you Aly, from Canada.


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