Here's to you, sport moms

ALISON KORN, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:18 AM ET

This week I asked athletes to share stories of their awesome sport moms. A collection of impassioned letters flowed in to my inbox -- and they're still arriving.

So now, like a true mom, I'm feeling guilty because I can't print them all. Everyone's stories are different, yet they all agree: "My mom is the best mother ever."

"Always there" moms

Kyle Shewfelt, 2004 Olympic gold medallist, gymnastics, Mom --Nola Shewfelt

"From the very beginning, my mom never questioned my dream. She was always there to support it. She worked the bingos, the casinos and volunteered thousands of hours at the gym. My mom would drive across the city, with a deliciously prepared snack, to pick me up from school and take me to afternoon training. She cared. That was evident every second of my journey."

Nat Bendavid, national rugby team, Mom -- Veronique Bendavid

"Before I could drive, she would take me to early morning practices before school and pick me up after practices in the evenings (pretty much every night of the week with all the sports I played). I attribute much of my strength of character to her amazing example."

Melanie Kok, 2008 Olympic bronze medallist, rowing, Mom -- Donna Kok

"She's the hardest worker I know, and she's always been there to support me, from my first soccer game at age six, right up until the Olympics. She's travelled from Brampton to Boston to Beijing to watch me compete, and she's always there to celebrate when I win, but maybe more importantly, she keeps things in perspective when I don't."

Megan Duhamel, figure skating, ranked 2nd in Canada and eighth in the world, Mom -- Heidi Duhamel

"For five years my mom worked two jobs from 7 a.m. until midnight to ensure she had enough money to pay for my dream. She sat in the stands at the nationals year after year as I cried tears of heartbreak, but when I made the world championship team in 2008 and I came running into her arms with tears of joy we knew it was all worth it."

Wise moms

Priscilla Lopes-Schliep, 2008 Olympic bronze medallist, hurdles, Mom -- Sharon Lopes

"One thing growing up I remember my mom telling me was "everything happens for a reason, and nothing before it's time." It's funny because I find myself saying the same thing when I go to schools and give motivational speeches."

Heather Moyse, Canadian Olympic bobsledder and national rugby player, Mom -- Sharon Moyse

"Sometimes I feel like I'm not competing fairly -- that I have an advantage over others. Why? Because none of my competitors were raised with the spirit, strength, soul, love, or integrity of my mother."

Kevin Light, 2008 Olympic gold medallist, rowing, Mom -- Anne Light

"My mom has believed that what I do in sport had a purpose. She has never told me to stop rowing and move on with my life after winning gold; in fact she was the person who told me to join the high school rowing team in Grade 12 after a serious hockey knee injury. Without her suggestion I probably would not have started rowing."

Avianna Chao, 2008 Olympian, sport pistol shooting, Mom -- Lien Chao

"In 2004, my mom somehow knew I was going to make my first Olympics in 2008. So she planned to take a self-paid sabbatical. She came to training with me everyday. She came with me to two World Cup competitions leading up to the Olympics. She even made an amazing multi-dish dinner for us in a small hotel in Munich with tin-foil and a small kettle. Without her, I would not be where and who I am today."

Mary Spencer, world champion, boxing, Mom -- Ruth Spencer

"When I began boxing at 16, I was not used to the high demands of training. My coach would call my house early in the mornings when I had missed practice and my mom would always get the messages. She told me I needed to train every day or tell my coach I wasn't interested. I thought about it and took her advice. Since then I have trained six days a week for eight years and won two world championships."

Active moms

Sara Renner, 2006 Olympic silver medallist, Nordic skiing, Mom -- Barb Renner

"Our family runs a backcountry lodge so a 50-km ski is a pleasurable experience for her. My daughter, who is two, calls her Granny Gnar (as in gnarly) because it is not uncommon to find my mom shussing the chutes on the peaks above Canmore or roped up on Mount Victoria in the summer."

Jennifer Botterill, 2006 Olympic gold medallist, hockey, Mom -- Doreen Botterill

"She has always been a huge inspiration to me. She was an Olympic athlete herself, attending the Olympics as a speedskater in 1964 and 1968. She was only 16 at her first Games and that really motivated me to believe in myself and possibilities."

Jean-Philippe Le Guellec, biathlon, qualified for the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, Mom -- Lise Le Guellec

"I started biathlon at the age of 13 in the Montreal region and my mom was my coach for the first three years. Once I joined a development group that trained near Quebec City, we would drive three hours back and forth for me to train with that group at least twice a month for two years."

Wayne Fernandez, field hockey, Mom -- Shirley Fernandez

"My mother has been there for my sisters, Jojo and Tara and I in so many ways. First, she started us in the sport of field hockey. She has guided us through our lives via the ups and downs that we have encountered through field hockey. The support that our parents have shown us has been undying and for that we will forever be grateful."

Single moms

Megan Lukan, basketball National Elite Development Academy, Mom -- Margaret Mulder

"I would say my mom is "one in a million" but that would be an understatement. There is no one else in the world who is there for their daughters the way my mom has been there for my two sisters and me. My mom is a single parent and always gave us the opportunity to join all the sports teams we wanted. She puts us first and herself last, literally with everything."

Bill Morgan, three-time Paralympian, judo, Mom - Joanne Morgan

"At age 10, I began attending classes at the W. Ross Macdonald School for the blind and visually impaired in Brantford, three hours from home. My mom worked extra hours as a single mom to afford my sporting interests, provided the opportunity and support for me to move away for school and enrich my life experience."

First-to-touch-medal mom

Katie Weatherston, 2006 Olympic gold medallist, hockey, Mom -- Anna Weatherston

"When I showed my mom the medal it was pretty special. I could see in her eyes that it was just as important to her as it was to me. She was there all along the way -- early morning practices, road trips, and always cheering loudly. She was the first person to touch the medal."


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