When Olympic gymnast, Aly Raisman, mounted the uneven bars in London on Sunday night, her parents, Lynn and Rick, were caught on camera doing a now-famous cheer routine that is as uncomfortable as it is endearing.
While 18-year-old Aly swung in the air, Lynn and Rick Raisman executed what can only be called synchronized squirming (were they in pain?), and footage of their "routine" quickly went viral. Beyond body language, both parents also stuck to a script; they each yelled out "Stick it! Stick it!" repeatedly as though those two words were all they could muster up. In response, Buzzfeed called them "awesome," Gawker said the clip is the best video from the entire weekend and it's currently NBC's Top "Moment of the Day." (If, for some reason, you haven't seen it yet, click over to the official site to watch immediately.)
TODAY Moms described Rick and Lynn's reaction as a combination of agony and ecstasy, but according to dad, all they were feeling during Aly's routine was "pure joy." In an interview with USA Today following the Raisman's quick rise to fame, dad said, "We know how long and how hard she's worked, literally everyday for the past 15 years." When the moment came, when all of Aly's dedication was about to pay off, Rick said he and his wife felt "relief, happiness, joy." And though they were hoping for the best, neither Rick nor Lynn even realized Aly's scores would qualify her for the all-around final until the very end.
As Slate points out, however, this Raisman gusto is nothing new. In the three-part special, Aly Raisman: Quest for Gold, which documents her path from from Needham, Mass. to competing in London 2012, her family is shown watching her compete on TV. "Ricky Raisman can’t sit. He’s jumping and screaming at the TV. 'Stick it! Stick it!' he shouts, as though she better not come home if she stumbles," Slate's Torie Bosch observes.
Prior to the Olympics, Rick and Lynn discussed their initial reaction when they found out Aly was London-bound in an interview with NESN.com, and described what it feels like to watch your daughter compete. "It's exciting, it's nerve-racking, anytime you watch your kids doing something you want good things for them," Lynn explained. "It's difficult to watch," Rick added.
The Raismans are by no means alone in their enthusiasm though. As Rebecca Dana points out on The Daily Beast, their stardom is part of a larger trend in these Olympic games. "The middle-aged American parent who has given her life savings and every waking moment over to her child’s athletic ambition is this year’s undisputed Olympic champion...," Dana writes. NBC's primetime viewers may have already found out who the winners are by following real-time coverage online, but they get to tune in for new hilarious, emotional and awesome mom and dad reactions each night on TV. "Olympic parents are natural stars," according to the Beast.
However, in many ways, any parent who has cheered on her child knows why the Raismans were squirming. Much of the community on TODAY Moms' Facebook page said they could absolutely relate. "It’s IMPOSSIBLE to sit quiet and just watch,” Melinda Hunt, whose nephew runs track, wrote. Several others nodded virtually in agreement.