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Team USA Athletes Share Their Favorite Stories About Their Mothers

By Lisa Costantini | May 10, 2019, 11 a.m. (ET)


In honor of Mother’s Day this Sunday (May 12), we asked Team USA athletes to share one of their favorite memories they have with their mom. From traveling the globe to celebrating their sporting accomplishments together, see the special bond these Olympians and hopefuls have with the leading lady in their lives. And to all the moms out there, happy Mother’s Day!

1) Noah Lyles, Track and Field
I recently won the Jesse Owens Athlete of the Year Award and when I was giving my acceptance speech I was saying that I have no sporting idols because I believe that having an idol puts people too high on a pedestal. And when you go to compete against them you’re going to lose because mentally you put them so high. But there in the seats was my mom, who is actually my idol, because she is the person I try to be like in life. She is the person who I want to personify through my daily living. She is like the only idol I secretly have. I said that in my speech and she stood up and I think she was crying for a little bit.


2) Jessica Mendoza, Softball
My mom is my best friend, for sure. Playing for USA Softball we got to travel the world and have all these really amazing memories. I have this really amazing memory of her and I driving around Italy getting lost trying to find our way. Picture her and I in a Smart car and those little roundabouts just going in circles for like 30 minutes until we were dizzy. My mom doesn’t see me as a softball player; she sees me as the person that does what I do within the world and my place in this world. My best memories with her are the ones where she brought that out.  

3) Maddie Mastro, Snowboarding
I think my favorite memory with my mom was a recent one. I had just won the women’s halfpipe contest at Burton’s U.S. Open when someone handed me a phone and said it’s your mom. My mom and I both just started screaming at each other. I don’t think we could even comprehend what we were saying, but we were screaming and crying together with how excited we were.

4) Kendall Coyne Schofield, Ice Hockey
There have been so many special memories with my mom, but one of the one sthat sticks out in my head was after we won gold in PyeongChang and my parents and family rushed the ice. My mom said, “You did it! You did it!” And I turned to her and said, “No, we did it!”

5) Meghan Duggan, Ice Hockey
By far my favorite story that has to do with my mother was simply the moment we shared immediately after our team won gold in PyeongChang in 2018. After celebrating with teammates, coaches, and staff on the ice immediately after the shootout, I knew the first person I needed to find was my mother, Mary.

I ran off the ice, and there she was, making her way down the stands. I still had my skates on of course, and all hockey players know that skates should never touch anything except for the ice and the rubber mats. In order to hug her I had to climb up on the cement stairs, and that is exactly what I did. That moment of hugging my mother is one I will truly never forget. It was a moment to cherish and celebrate everything it had taken to get to that point. My mom drove me to countless practices and training sessions from the time I was 3 years old. She consoled me after heartbreaking losses in 2010 and 2014. She’s been rinkside at every Olympics, world championship, national championship, youth practice/tournament, etc. She’s my rock and the reason I am who I am. Happy Mothers Day to her and all of the other amazing moms out there! 

(To whoever snapped this photo of us in that moment, I cannot thank you enough.) 


6) Julia Krass, Freestyle Skiing
Because my parents don’t get to see me compete very often, having my mom Diana standing at the bottom of my run at world championships this year and seeing the look on her face and the tears coming down when I got second was pretty incredible. And she also taught me how to ski, so that made it an even more amazing memory.

7) Alex (Carlson) Agre, Curling
My favorite thing about my mom is that she’s always up for a fun trip or adventure. When I was nearing 25, I realized I had visited almost every state and really wanted to make it to all 50. I knew my mom hadn’t been to Mississippi or Alabama, both of which were on my list. So, I convinced her that she should come with me on a road trip through the Southeast. While I had four or five states left to visit in the area, she had only those two. We took a four-day road trip where we visited six different states. It still makes me laugh that she was willing to spend that much time in a car just to visit those states with me. I’m grateful for my mom and travel partner!

8) Allyson Felix, Track and Field
I love that my mom and I always have prayer before every race. I call her and it’s a special time we share between us. It always helps me keep things in perspective and be full of gratitude. 

9) Kaitlin Hawayek, Figure Skating
My favorite story that has to do with my mom is not one, but many stories! I have been fortunate enough for my mom to travel to all of my skating competitions, and one of our special traditions is finding a cappuccino at a local shop in the city I’m competing in. It gives me a chance to appreciate all the amazing places I travel to while sharing it with one of the people I love most in my life (and we’ve gotten to experience some delicious coffee around the world!).

10) Erin Hamlin, Luge
The most recent one that pops into my head is when she finally was able to slide! Both of my parents have been dying to try luge my entire career and somehow it took until this past December (almost 20 years later…) for it to happen. She is way more of a daredevil than I am and was pumped to go. After getting the quick instruction we pushed her off and she immediately threw her arms up and yelled (like she was on a rollercoaster). There are literally two rules we tell people who slide for the first time: 1) stay laying back and 2) hold on. It is so typical that she threw caution to the wind and went for it. We had to yell to her to hold on.

11) Dagmara Wozniak, Fencing
In honor of Mother's Day my favorite memory would have to be a rather emotional one. My mom was diagnosed with cancer and had to carry a fanny pack around with her that administered chemo into a port in her chest. My mom was always my biggest supporter and was constantly driving to pick me up from the city post practice. I remember her watching me practice and I thought, ‘Wow, my mom is fighting so hard and it almost seems like this situation doesn’t faze her.’ 

My mother is my hero, my image of what strength and beauty is. I always looked up to her but seeing her going through such a hard time and still having the energy to drive me, to support me, to smile and say it’s going to be OK was impressive. 

Years later I found out that someone had asked her how she was doing that night I saw her. She explained to them that she was so tired but she needed to fight for her life so that she could be here with our family. She then started to cry, yet I never saw the tears during practice ... just that confident smile. She’s the most strong-willed person I know and despite that she was going through this horrible experience, she wanted to be strong for me, for our family. My mother is our family's rock. I am a warrior because of her. 

12) Becca Hamilton, Curling
[My brother and fellow curler] Matt and I never have to search the crowd for a familiar face. Our mother, Cathy, selflessly uses all of her vacation time to follow us around the globe. None of our Olympic dreams could have become a reality without the leader of our #HamFam team! Happy Mother's Day, Mom! We love you lots!

13) Jourdan Delacruz, Weightlifting
My favorite memory is when my mom dropped me off at the Olympic Training Center for the first time when I had just turned 16 years old. She has always supported me, even if that meant living far away.

14) Leah Smith, Swimming
My favorite memory with my mom is at the beach when I was really little, jumping over the waves with her.

Related Athletes

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Meghan Duggan

Ice Hockey
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Jessica Mendoza

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Maddie Mastro

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Kendall Coyne-Schofield

Ice Hockey
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Julia Krass

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Alex Agre

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Allyson Felix

Track and Field
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Erin Hamlin

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Dagmara Wozniak

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Jourdan Delacruz