Blaine Wilson has a long list of gymnastics accomplishments, but the highlights are 2004 Olympic team silver medalist and 2003 World Championships team silver medalist. Now, he and his wife Aliane (who was a 1996 Olympian for Rhythmic Gymnastics), own Integrity Gymnastics in Plain City, Ohio.
When asked about the role his parents played in his gymnastics, Blaine said:
“My parents were very hands off when it came to gymnastics. My dad drove me to and from the gym, but he never watched my practices. He liked it that way and so did I. He would ask me how it went, but that was it!
The only thing my dad was pretty strict about was that I behave while at the gym. He told me that when I was at the gym, my coach Dennis, was my “acting” father. If I ever got in trouble, Dennis handled it and there were no problems. My parents had total trust in him, and I did as well.
My parents supported everything I did when it came to the sport. I excelled in other sports because of gymnastics. I was a better baseball player and soccer player due to the demands of gymnastics. There were times when I wanted to quit and although my parents supported me, they also told me that if I quit, I would never learn anything about life. I can honestly say, without a doubt, they made my career in gymnastics a fun journey. They were always supportive and found a way to make it work. I will forever be grateful for the sacrifices and support of both of my parents and my sister Amy. It was such a great journey.
How has your journey as a gymnast impacted the way you parent?
The journey continues now as I watch my son, Jackson, do the sport that I love. I am also “hands off” when it comes to his path in gymnastics. I don’t need to live vicariously through him because he is his own man. Gymnastics is now his thing and his sport. If he needs my help, he asks for it and I am there to try to make it happen.
I am not his head coach, but I do try to help guide him. After he competes, I always tell him two things — first, what he did well and how proud I am as his father. Second, from a coach perspective, what he can continue to work on to improve. I try to keep the lines very clear and open. Yes, there are times when I get disappointed because I feel he is not giving 100%. I would say that I’m hard on him, not just in gymnastics, but in baseball and school as well. I’m hard on him because life is tough, and you have to be able to push through all the obstacles that are put in front of you. I’m trying to teach him life skills that he will need to be successful in his life. Things like “Don’t give up, keep pushing and doors will open for you.” I am very proud of all of my children. People always ask me what my legacy will be — it’s my children.