Behind every Olympic athlete competing in Sochi is a parent.

Behind most every athlete competing in Sochi is a parent who roused them before dawn, fortified them with healthy meals and cheered on hours upon hours of practices and competitions. Since these moms might as well have a Ph.D. in raising healthy, balanced kids, we asked five to share their secrets.

“Our family loves to get away to state parks where we can hike together. When the kids were younger, we’d often call ahead to where we were staying to have the TV taken out of our room. This created amazing relationships among our kids, who learned to make up games, be creative together and love the outdoors.” —Linda Goepper Mom to freeskier Nick Goepper, 19, first-time Olympian

[caption id="attachment_118276" align="alignnone" width="178"] Nick Goepper and mother Linda[/caption]

“J.R. is my youngest son and he loved to keep up with his dad and big brothers. He started inline skating with them at age 3. Having their dad there working just as hard as they did created a special bond—and spending so much time together at the rink as a family helped provide balance for J.R.” —Sue Celski Mom to short track speed skater J.R. Celski, 23, 2010 bronze medalist

“Meryl is a perfectionist, and letting her talk about skating is important, but we also try to tell her to leave it at the rink. When she comes home, we encourage her to do other things like bike riding, movies and reading. Our whole family loves to ride horses so we plan trips to do that together. And though she’s not a child anymore, if she calls me late at night, I’ll say, ‘Do you know what time it is?’”

—Cheryl Davis Mom to ice dancer Meryl Davis, 26, 2010 silver medalist [caption id="attachment_118277" align="alignnone" width="248"] Meryl Davis, left, and mother Cheryl[/caption]

“All of my five children are serious players in different sports. To get my kids to go to practice, I would give them a little incentive such as going to lunch together after. I would remind them of their strengths, help them prioritize their goals, and tell them that no matter what the outcome, they are all champions for accomplishing so much.” —Cathy Sarubbi, Mom to alpine ski racer Caitlin Sarubbi, 25, 2010 Paralympic Games competitor

“Charlie often ate in the car between school and skating practice, so I had a cooler packed full of carrot sticks and peanut butter, bananas and yogurt. His favorite snack was tuna salad with lots of chopped veggies and hard-boiled eggs, either on whole grain bread or with a spoon right out of the container. It was a quick way to get some protein and carbs without being too heavy.”—Jacqui White, Mom to ice dancer Charlie White, 26, 2010 silver medalist (with partner Meryl Davis)

[caption id="attachment_118278" align="alignnone" width="207"] Charlie White, right, and parents[/caption]

“Julie was originally enrolled in figure skating, but we noticed that she kept glancing over where her brother was practicing hockey, and eventually she asked to try it. I never thought to say no. I wanted my girls to have the opportunity to try anything they wanted. The only rule was, you have to finish the session.”—Miriam Chu, Mom to Julie Chu, 31,3-time Olympic medalist, women's ice hockey

[caption id="attachment_118279" align="alignnone" width="207"] Julie, left, and mother Miriam[/caption]

See these moms in Procter & Gamble’s “Thank You, Mom” videos at

This article originally appeared as on Spry Living