By Lisa Costantini | Sept. 16, 2018, 3:46 p.m. (ET)
Alexa Scimeca-Knierim and Chris Knierim kiss after their pairs short program at the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018 on Feb. 14, 2018 in Gangneung, South Korea.

 

“Behind every great man, there’s a great woman.”

In honor of Wife Appreciation Day on Sept. 16, we asked 13 Olympic and Paralympic athletes to share with us why they’re most appreciative of their significant others.


1) Chris Knierim, Figure Skating

The best thing about my wife and skating partner Alexa is that I get to work with her every day — that’s the best thing.


2) John Shuster, Curling

The best thing about my wife Sara is she’s the most selfless person I know. She is always thinking about others first — and that includes always thinking about myself and the children — before her own needs. She’s taught me a lot about doing the same.


3) David Wise, Freestyle Skiing

That’s really tough to answer, but I’ll just give you the cheesy answer. My wife is more beautiful on the inside than she is on the outside. She’s obviously a strikingly good-looking human, but her heart outshines her outwardly attractiveness.

 

David Wise poses for a portrait with his family, son Malachi, 3, daughter Nayeli, 6, and his wife Alexandra on Febr. 22, 2018 in Gangneung, South Korea.


4) Keith Gabel, Para snowboarding

The first thing that stands out to me is the amount of support and patience Heather has for me and what I do. I don’t think a lot of people realize how much the wives do in the background. They’re there supporting us, they’re the shoulder we cry on when something doesn’t go right, they’re the ones who take care of us when we get injured. The statement couldn’t be truer that behind every great man is a greater woman. I think it’s safe to say that anyone who is as fortunate as I have been to find someone that special, they should hold on to them for dear life. She’s just an amazing woman.


5) Tim Burke, Biathlon

It's hard to choose just one best thing about Andrea! However, I always felt so lucky when I was competing to have Andrea in my corner. Not only did she understand exactly what I was going through [as a biathlete herself], but also her unwavering support made competing so much easier.

 

Tim Burke with wife Andrea Burke, née Henkel


6) Rowdy Gaines, Swimming

My wife is my hero. My wife is the rock of Gibraltar, no doubt about it. She raised four girls for crying out loud — and has three granddaughters. So, I’m very fortunate to have a wife who has been with me for 30 years, and we look forward to another 30.


7) Chad Billins, Ice Hockey

It’s hard to narrow it down to one thing. Her supportive personality is one thing that I really love. And my wife is actually pregnant right now, so I think the joy of being pregnant and welcoming a new child soon, I think that’s something that I will always cherish.


8) Rob Umstead, Para Alpine Skiing (guide)

The best thing about my wife [and Para skiing partner] Danelle is her positive attitude towards everything in life.

 

Rob Umstead and Danelle Umstead pose for a portrait at the Team USA Media Summit on Sept. 26, 2017 in Park City, Utah.


9) Cullen Jones, Swimming

My wife Rupi is very good at cooking. She’s like an amateur chef. She has opened me up to so much more food-wise. Marrying someone of East Indian descent who has had the experiences that she’s had – she’s traveled, she’s tried pretty much everything when it comes to cuisine. But the number one thing is she has an amazing ability to listen to me and give me unbiased opinions.


10) Casey Eichfeld, Canoe/Kayak

My wife, my best friend, my girlfriend, Sarah, has journeyed through three Olympic Games with me. The journey has had peaks and valleys, and often her strength is the force that keeps my fire strong! And she just might even love Disney more than I do. (We said ‘I do’ at Disney World in December of 2016.)


11) Nic Taylor, Bobsled

My favorite thing about my wife [and three-time Olympic bobsled medalist], Elana is how amazing she is — how strong of not just a woman, but how strong of a person she is. She’s the most incredible person I’ve ever met. She works so hard she forgets to do little things, like eat breakfast, because she’s constantly helping people — from the Women’s Sports Foundation to Classroom Champions, while going to school, and going to work.

 

Elana Meyers Taylor and Nic Taylor pose at Team Processing ahead of the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018 on Feb. 3, 2018 in Seoul, South Korea.


12) Merrill Moses, Water Polo

The best thing about my wife Laura is she is truly my best friend. We have three daughters (5 years old, 3 years old and 6 weeks old), and she does an amazing job running our household and making sure our family is taken care of and has everything we need. She is the best wife and mother a husband could ask for.


13) Galen Rupp, Track and Field

The best thing about my wife is her unconditional love. She is always such a positive force in my life and inspires me to be a better athlete and a better person.