Raising an Olympian

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CLARKS SUMMIT, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Kelly Rippon’s philosophy model is simple: a parent has the greatest opportunity to be the most significant influence in a child’s life.

From optimism to accountability, she raised an Olympian, Adam Rippon.

“How do I know I am raising an Olympian? And my answer is, they will tell you,” Kelly said.

When Kelly Rippon’s son Adam Rippon medaled in the 2018 Winter Olympics, she found herself getting asked that question quite often. So much so, that she penned a book about it.

“Parents should know that you don’t have to come from a certain family, or a certain socio-economic background, or a certain level of education; your kids have exponential potential,” Kelly said.

Kelly, mother of six, told Eyewitness News what she believes makes a true Olympian during an interview at the Abington Community Library.

“An Olympian is someone who can root for someone else getting what they wanted, knowing there is enough success for everyone. Someone who accepts criticism as feedback to improve and not insults. Someone who can root for someone else getting what they wanted, knowing there is enough success for everyone,” Kelly said.

Speaking of rooting for others, did you know that every time a United States Olympian wins a medal at the games, an additional medal, the Order of Ikkos, is given to them? This medal allows the Olympian to acknowledge an individual for their leadership in helping them achieve their world-class success.

“This is the person supporting the torch, coming out from three. And then the colors are opposite,” Kelly said.

On a snowy bus ride to the medal ceremony in Pyeong Chang, Kelly got the surprise of her life.

“He had this big buildup about how much his coach meant to him and the sponsors and fans and teammates, but then he said he couldn’t have done it without someone who has been there the whole time,” Kelly said.

That person was his mom.

“I was the first parent who wasn’t a coach to receive this,” Kelly said.

With this year being the first Olympic games without parents, let alone any spectators in the crowds, Kelly feels for those folks.

“Having parents there, having family there, is an element of home. It grounds them. Instead of increasing their nerves, it dilutes them,” Kelly said.

Although the Olympics may look different this year, the traditions will remain the same.

For more information on Kelly’s book “Parent Up”, visit kellyrippon.com.

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