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Dad helps daughter imitate Olympic choreography at home


little.raquel | Instagram | Fair Use

Giovanna Binci - published on 10/21/21

Every day is a mini-Olympics when you're a parent of little children!

The Tokyo 2020 Olympics have ended, yet this morning there was my daughter, trying a Quan Hongchan-style pike dive from the couch—and there I was, breaking Jacobs’ Olympic sprinting record (in heartbeats, for sure) to catch her. Even so, I had to give her straight 10s for her performance. 

Meanwhile, my other daughter was turning the bathroom into the Olympic pool for the 400m diaper race. 

Luckily, I’m in good company, judging by the video I ran across on social media just yesterday. 

The video is 2 years old, and it has to do with the London 2012 Olympics. It’s in a vertical format with a split screen: on the top is video of Alexandra Raisman, a gymnast on Team USA, doing her floor routine; below, there’s a little girl in a leotard, standing on her parents’ bed in front of the TV, watching her heroine on the world stage and imitating the routine as best she can, with her dad’s help.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Raquel Arruda (@little.raquel)

Little Raquel (her moniker on Instagram), from Pernambuco, Brazil, jumps around for a moment and then strikes a solemn pose, one hand on her shoulder, with a proud look and a raised chin. Thus she begins to follow the choreography of the champion.

She continues imitating her steps, jumps, and hand movements. The bedroom is immediately transformed in her mind into the English capital, and the emotion is palpable. 

Before her eyes is her dream as a girl with her hair pulled back into a bun, jumping to a frenetic rhythm. Next to her … her daddy! 

At 3 years old or so, children can usually do somersaults and types of jumps (or falls?) that no technique could explain, in defiance of the force of gravity. But if you’re talking about a performance for the Olympics, you need seriousness and an exceptional coach. Only the very best! 

At the end, I glimpse a moment when he’s out of breath, at least as much as I was when I ran that 100 meter sprint this morning, but his performance is exceptional. 

He lifts her, flips her, and spins her to simulate somersaults and leaps, forward and backward: in short, to be a parent you need the physique for it, there’s no doubt. 

The parents’ Olympics

As a parent, your training is constant; it wears you out and the competitions are all one after another. Not to mention nocturnal events… 

Indeed, a parent’s Olympics never end.

At the opening ceremony each day I wear pajamas with unicorns, not a Giorgio Armani suit. 

Some days you’re so tired that you’re afraid you won’t manage to bring home the medal; other days, you’d like to step down (a week in a spa would be nice, but more realistically, it could also consist of hiding in the closet eating chips and drinking Spritz), but there is no such option—at least, not unless there’s a babysitter available. 

Sometimes you wonder if they’ll remember all of this someday. You, at least, will certainly remember the marathon cleaning sessions trying to collect LEGOs without stepping on them.

The reality is that being a parent is the most extreme sport I know. It’s one for which there’s no athletic training tough enough or complete enough to save you from feelings of guilt or inadequacy, or to get you through the day without shortness of breath.

Records of the heart

Parents give it their all. They don’t yield an inch even when, rather than sprint, they have to drag themselves along until the nine o’clock finish line.

There are records that no chronometer can mark, and there are dreams that begin with a child jumping on a bed at home, with a father as coach, fan, referee, commentator, and whatever else is needed.

Because the real thing you need in order to ascend the winner’s podium in life is heart. We parents, even if we don’t sport an Olympian’s muscle tone, have well-toned hearts thanks to our own Olympic performance. 

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