Overbearing Skater Mom Calls Child 'Pathetic, Embarrassing'

Hidden cameras at an ice skating rink capture reaction to an overbearing mom.

ByABC News
November 18, 2010, 9:39 AM

Dec. 1, 2010— -- It's the reason Andre Agassi, winner of every major tennis title, now hates the game. It may also be why Baseball Hall of Famer Mickey Mantle wet his bed up to age 16. Sports parents can guide their children to greatness -- or go too far and push them over the brink.

What would you do if you heard a parent cross the line and berate a young skater for failing to live up to expectations on the ice?

That's the scenario played out before the hidden cameras of ABC News' "What Would You Do?" at the E.J. Murray Memorial Skating Center in Yonkers, N.Y. Actors were hired to play an overbearing skating mom and her daughter, Olivia, who is actually a real-life skating champ.

Click here to watch the latest episode of "What Would You Do?"

As Olivia twirled on the ice, the nightmare mom pounded on the rink's glass wall and screamed at her. "Ugh! Olivia! That's not a champion! That's pathetic! That is absolutely pathetic."

Passersby immediately took notice and watched as she ordered Olivia off the ice to scold her.

"This is embarrassing. Unless you go out there and you skate harder and skate faster than I've ever seen you skate, I'm not doing this any more," snapped the skating mom, who turned on her heel and walked off in a huff.

Immediately, a woman watching the scene came over to comfort the upset girl. "Are you all right? You're just mad at yourself because you didn't skate well?" the woman asked.

Olivia's pushy mother returned and sent the sobbing athlete back on the ice. Standing at the side of the rink, the adults began talking and the woman, who turned out to be a skating coach, asked whether the demanding observer was coaching the teenager.

"No, I'm her mother," the actor said.

"If you're her mom -- as a mom and as a coach -- you need to separate the two and remove yourself. That's what I would tell you if I was her coach," the woman said. "Let her help herself. You can probably do more damage than you realize."