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The #1 Tip From An Olympian On Parenting

The #1 Tip from an Olympian on Parenting

Aliane Baquerot Wilson is a 1996 Olympian in Rhythmic Gymnastics. She began in Rhythmic gymnastics as a child and worked her way up to the elite level. She was 17 at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta. She credits her mom for helping to guide her in the sport and being supportive, not pushy.

I asked Aliane about her gymnastics experience and the role her mom played as she was going through her gymnastics journey.

She said, “My mom, Viviane, was a huge factor in my success.  She was always supportive, but never pushy.  She didn’t watch all of my practices, but she would always ask how practice went.  If I was excited to get a new skill, she was excited with me, even though to her, it all sounded like a foreign language.  She let me guide and lead the conversation in terms of if I wanted to talk about gymnastics or not.  For her, gymnastics wasn’t the end all be all. She made sure I had other interests, as much as time would allow. Also, I always knew that school came first!  Rhythmic gymnastics was new and completely foreign to both of us when I started, in fact, we learned together, and she helped me set realistic goals. Instead of saying, I’m going to go to the Olympics, my very first year competing, she would say, why don’t you try and qualify for State meet.  It felt great when I would achieve each goal and could set a new one.  I loved having her support and love, but I also totally appreciate the fact that she realized it was my passion and not hers.”

After the Olympics, Aliane worked in movies, TV specials and Broadway Shows. She was also a dancer in New York. Now, she and her husband Blaine Wilson own Integrity Gymnastics in Columbus, Ohio.  Husband Blaine is a 5-time National Champion, 3-time Olympian, Olympic Silver Medalist and was named Ohio State Gymnast of the Century.

And, one of the couples’ two sons is now a gymnast. If anyone understands competition – it is this couple! And now they have another challenge, parenting a gymnast.

I asked Aliane, “Give us tips for parenting a gymnast, now that you have a son in gymnastics?”

Aliane said, “Now that my son Jackson is a competitive gymnast, the tables have turned.  I have to say, I think having been a competitive gymnast it’s hard to be on the side lines.  I try and do what my mom did, let him take the lead.  I offer to help stretch him when he asks me, but I don’t push him to do it if he doesn’t initiate it.  It has to come from him.  I tell him that both, Blaine and I are always here for him and are willing to help in anyway, but we will never force it.  We have been through it and realize that if it doesn’t come from him, it won’t happen.  You have to want it and want to work for it, no one can do it for you.  We see a lot of parents trying to live vicariously through their kids and that will never work.  We also try and leave gym at the gym.  When we are at home, we talk about baseball, school, friends, books, or whatever. Similar to how my mom helped me, I try and encourage him to set realistic goals.  Sometimes it’s a weekly goal, or a skill, or doing a bonus at a competition, or going 6 for 6 at a meet, or if it’s a tough day, just doing your very best on that given day.  The goals are never based on placements or winning, that’s beyond his control.  Gymnastics is one of the toughest sports in the world and requires so much time and energy, I really try and leave the coaching to the coaches and relish in my role as mom.  I’m here for him, I can be his confidante, his cheerleader, whatever he needs!”


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