Overbearing Skater Mom Calls Child 'Pathetic, Embarrassing'


Purely as an investment strategy, it's a poor choice, according to numbers compiled by the National Collegiate Athletic Association, the governing body of college sports. Only about 3.1 percent of male high school basketball players go on to play college ball, and just .03 percent make it pro. For female basketball players, 3.5 percent will play in college and .03 percent will break into the pros. The numbers are similar for boys playing other high school sports (football, 6 and .08 percent; baseball, 6.4 and .44 percent; soccer 5.6 and .07 percent and ice hockey 10.8 and .32 percent.)

Back at the ice rink in Yonkers, the dreaded skating mom notched up her demands for nothing less than a championship performance from her daughter.

"You're not going to eat until I see better, until I see perfection!" she shouted over the ice.

Agassi, Mantle Suffered Overbearing Sports Parents

The performance was judged as imperfect by the mother, who said the girl had shamed her. That prompted two fathers at the rink to speak out.

"Honey, you should be embarrassed, not her," said one of the fathers, Bob Thomas. He later told ABC News, "She said she was embarrassed to be her mother. It was something that caused us both to feel like we needed to intervene. Let's face it, the chances of your child becoming an Olympian? It's a long shot. So let 'em enjoy it."

While overbearing parents are nothing new to sports, sometimes the truth about the damage they have caused surfaces only after an athlete has achieved the greatness in their sport that the parent demanded.

In his autobiography, U.S. Open champ and tennis great Andre Agassi said he ended up hating the game because of his overbearing father, who relentlessly pushed him. Decades earlier, baseball legend Mickey Mantle revealed on "the Dick Cavett Show" that he wet the bed up to the age of 16 as the result of the pressure he felt from his father to make it in the big leagues. Family members later said his emotional problems were tied to his father's enormous expectations.

In Yonkers, some adults who watched the mother's demands build on her daughter chose to intervene. But what would happen if the scenario changed and the actors portrayed an abusive coach harassing the young skater?

Abusive Coach Calls Student 'Disgrace'

Skating coach Jeanne Governale trains young skater Olivia in Vermont -- and they have a great relationship. But at our request, she became cold as ice towards her star skater, becoming verbally abusive on and off the ice.

"You look like you had to go the bathroom. Honest to God, Olivia, we have drilled this so many times," Governale said. "Get over here and show me how that leg is going to swing through, that's terrible."

Governale insulted Olivia as the skater attempted a jump.

"You know what? You're embarrassing me. You are an absolute disgrace," Governale said with disgust.

It's not the norm in figure skating to have a coach be this abusive. Governale really turned it up at our request. Figure skating coaches police their own and abide by a code of ethics set forth by the Professional Skater Association. A coach doing what Governale did would suffer severe consequences.

While people do hear what's going on and give looks, no one intervened until a man nearby moved in and approached our nasty coach.

"I think this a little abusive?" said Rob Sylvestri.

"Her mother's paying me a lot of money," Governale replied.

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