SOCHI, RUSSIA (NBC) -
For the parents of Olympians, the pre-dawn drives to practice, expenses and countless sacrifices made all seem to pay off when their child, or children, come to the Olympic starting line. The Olympic Zone looks at one family's experience in Sochi.
“I want to support them but I almost don't want to be there. It’s really hard for me to watch,” Patty Gold said.
For the parents of Olympians, it means living each ride, each trick along with them and for Patty and Ken Gold, it’s twice as nerve wracking, twice as agonizing.
They are parents to not just one but two Olympians. 20-year-old Taylor and 17-year-old Arielle Gold.
Both Taylor and Arielle have been honing their craft for years spending time away from home across the country and around the world but always knowing that their parents are there for them.
“It's nice we get to have our space and feel the support as well,” Taylor said.
For the Gold's each competition comes with rituals. Ken is a pacer, walking back and forth, sometimes picking up trash to get rid of nervous energy. Patty sometimes walks too.
But once their kids are up at the start it all changes.
Taylor has made it through the heat races, but the competition has gotten stiffer, a poor run, the pressure is on to make a clean run and the finals. On his second attempt, a good run goes wrong
Now, it’s in the judges hands
“The difference between perfection and a fall in halfpipe is millimeters that's unfortunately what didn't go for him,” Ken said.
Fast forward 24 hours, now is supposed to be Arielle's time to shine. But in a practice run just minutes before the competition was to begin disaster strikes.
“The first thing out of her mouth was ‘I want to go back and support my teammates. I want to be there for them’. So God bless her. You know, she's an American girl,” Ken said.
It was not the Olympic moment the family had hoped for… but they say, being there for each other was worth more than gold.
“It's a victory and an incredible opportunity for us as a family to be here and share this opportunity together for us as a family,” Ken said.
But, they say, being there for each other was worth more than gold.
Both Arielle and Taylor are still very young and they say they've got their eyes on the next Winter Olympics in South Korea four years from now. Their parents say they'll be there to support Arielle and Taylor every step of the way.