6 Great Olympic Parent Moments: Hugs, Tears and Fears

From happy tears to fears, parents are with their Olympic children in every step

ByABC News
July 31, 2012, 3:00 PM

July 31, 2012— -- intro: Behind every Olympic athlete is Mom.

A Mother's Love is a major heart string-tugging theme at this year's Olympics in London.

NBC has caught some flack for their Olympics coverage, but cutting to Olympic parents' reactions has become a staple and made for some amazing television moments.

Mothers of Olympic athletes have been queens of the camera cutaways, with television cameras catching them in moments of amped-up anxiety. The standard shot used to be a brief glimpse of Mom with her hands on her face or Dad looking tense, but that has been replaced by drawn-out play-by-plays of parents screaming, crying, cheering and covering their eyes while watching their child compete from the stands.

And it's not just the network cashing in on this emotional rollar coaster. Procter & Gamble have been running a series of tear-jerking "Thank You, Mom" commercials since April.

U.S. Olympic swimmer Tyler Clary's parents, Lonnie and Stacy Clary, talked with "Nightline" about how emotional it is to watch their son compete. Clary, 23, finished fifth in the 200-meter butterfly Tuesday night.

"I get really nervous," Stacy Clary said. "My leg starts bouncing up and down a lot, and I just want it to start, I don't want to hear them introduce anyone, just put them on the block and let them go. Get it over with! Let's just get it over with."

"You catch yourself moving to the stroke, to try to help them, leaning in and out of the walls, watching the clock," Lonnie Clary added. "Sometimes you get so nervous you can't look at the pool you just want to see what the splits are or see what his placement is."

Ike Lochte, the mother of U.S. Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte, seems to get about as much exercise as her son when he competes.

"He swims and I swim with him," she said. "And then after that I rejoice with him. I've gone through all this and all he has to do is swim the four lengths of the pool and he's relaxed, that's not fair."

Here are some of the greatest parental moments from the 2012 London Olympics:

quicklist: 1category:title: Debbie Phelps Tears Up After Son Breaks Recordurl: media:16899241text: U.S. Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps won his 19th career medal Tuesday, breaking the record for most Olympic medals ever won.

His mother, Debbie Phelps, cried during the men's 4x200m freestyle relay final swimming event when Phelps took home the gold and set a new medal record.

After Phelps made an enormous splash at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, his mother also emerged as an icon of parental pride, rooting loudly for her son from the stands. Cameras will pan to her often before and after his meets.

quicklist: 2category:title: John Orozco's Mom Can't Watchurl: media:16900860text: Even when U.S. Olympic gymnast John Orozco sticks his landings perfectly, his mother Damaris gets so anxious she has to cover her eyes.

Born to Puerto Rican parents, 19-year-old Orozco competed with the U.S. gymnastics team in the final Monday, but the team finished fifth. He'll compete in the men's gymnastics individual all-around on Wednesday.

quicklist: 3category:title: Aly Raisman's Parents Yell, Squirmurl: media:16898306text: Olympic gymnast Aly Raisman's parents, Rick and Lynn Raisman, have become Internet sensations after cameras caught them squirming, twitching and yelling during their daughter's routine Sunday.

As their 18-year-old swung up, over and around the bars during the qualifier for the all-around final, viewers could hear the Raismans giving an animated play-by-play.

"Stick it! Stick it," they yelled, and the video clip went viral.

In an interview with USA Today Monday, the Raismans talked about those anxious moments.

"We know how long and how hard she's worked, literally everyday for the past 15 years," Rick said, adding that he and his wife felt "relief, happiness, joy" when Aly's routine was over.

quicklist: 4category:title: Matt Grevers' Family Embraceurl: media:16899982text: U.S. Olympic swimmer Matt Grevers celebrated with his sister Carolyn, left, his father Ed, and mother Anja, after he won the championship final of the men's 100-meter backstroke Monday.

Standing at 6-foot-8, the 27-year-old swimmer set an Olympic record with a time of 52.16 seconds, just 0.22 seconds outside of the world record, set by Aaron Perisol in 2009.

quicklist: 5category:title: Zara Phillips' Royal Family Prideurl: media:16899934text: Olympic equestrian Zara Phillips, the granddaughter of Queen Elizabeth, claimed the first royal win of the 2012 Olympics.

But the most touching moment was when Phillips, 31, was presented the silver medal by her mother, Princess Anne, after the Eventing Team Jumping Final Equestrian event on Tuesday.

Prince William, Kate Middleton and Prince Harry cheered on their cousin from the stands.

quicklist: 6category:title: Emily Seebohm's Celebratory Hugurl: media:16899901text: Australian Olympic swimmer Emily Seebohm, 20, pulled her mother in for a big hug after receiving her silver medal during the medal ceremony for the women's 100m backstroke during the London 2012 Olympic Games on Monday.