We all cheered when Michael Phelps won his 22nd Olympic medal on Saturday and when Gabby Douglas won the women's all-around title in gymnastics with a beaming smile last Thursday.

But some were likely cheering a little bit harder for the athletes -- namely, their single parents and stepparents.

Click through the slideshow below to read 6 heartwarming stories of competing U.S. Olympians who succeeded despite family adversity.

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  • Michael Phelps

    Michael Phelps is now the most decorated Olympian in history, with 22 total medals, including 18 golds. The woman behind all those wins? Michael's mother Debbie, <a href="http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1274022-michael-phelps-mothers-support-big-part-of-olympic-success" target="_hplink">who raised Michael and his two sisters on a teacher's salary</a> after she divorced their father, Fred Phelps. So what does Debbie have to say when fellow single parents ask her for parenting advice? "I have no advice for them," <a href="http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/O/OLY_SWM_SWIMMING_MOMS?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT" target="_hplink">she said recently</a>. "I just supported my family, I was a strong mother. That's what I tell single parents who come to me: Just be strong, support your kids, don't let go of their hands right away."

  • Danell Leyva

    When U.S. gymnast Danell Leyva won <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/london-2012-olympics/wp/2012/08/01/danell-leyvas-bar-routine-completes-rally-for-bronze-in-mens-all-around/" target="_hplink">bronze in the men's gymnastics all-around competition</a> on Wednesday, it was hard to miss the show his stepfather, Yin Alvarez, was putting on in the stands, whether flailing his arms or doing the <a href="http://msn.foxsports.com/olympics/gymnastics/story/united-states-danell-leyva-earns-bronze-medal-in-mens-all-around-japan-kohei-uchimura-wins-gold-080112" target="_hplink"> routine right alongside his stepson on the floor</a>. Alvarez isn't just a proud parent, though; he's also Danell's coach. Leyva's mother, Maria Gonzalez, never married his biological father, Johann Leyva, so Alvarez took on a father figure role, <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/30/sports/olympics/with-stepfathers-coaching-danell-leyva-reaches-for-an-olympic-gold.html?pagewanted=all" target="_hplink">the <em>New York Times</em> reported</a>, and eventually become his coach -- as well as his loudest supporter. "Everybody thinks it's an embarrassment because he acts so crazy, but it's actually a big help," <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/30/sports/olympics/with-stepfathers-coaching-danell-leyva-reaches-for-an-olympic-gold.html?pagewanted=all" target="_hplink">Leyva told the <em>New York Times</em> in July</a>. "I love hearing him. I love his energy and passion. I feed off of it. It definitely makes me better."

  • Gabby Douglas

    Gabby Douglas has won fans in <a href="http://www.okmagazine.com/news/beyonce-congratulates-olympian-gabby-douglas-gold-medal-win" target="_hplink">Oprah, Beyonce and President Obama</a> since securing <a href="http://www.stltoday.com/sports/olympics/douglas-wins-third-consecutive-women-s-all-around-gymnastics-title/article_5f98c26a-6813-5c3f-a80e-d3c6e7186ae3.html" target="_hplink">gold in the all-around gymnastics competition and giving the U.S. its first team gymnastics title</a> since 1996 with her "Fierce Five" teammates. But the 16-year-old's biggest fan may be mom Natalie Hawkins, a single mother of four who's talked openly about the sacrifices she made to prepare Gabby for the Olympics. Hawkins has said <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/03/natalie-hawkins-gabby-douglas_n_1736654.html" target="_hplink">she's still brought to tears</a> thinking about how she sent her daughter from Virginia to Iowa in 2010 to train with renowned gymnastics coach Liang Chow. "Letting go of Gabrielle [was] one of the hardest things I've ever done in my life but it's now one of the most rewarding things that I've ever gotten to experience ... there's no greater joy than for a parent to see their child reach their dream," Hawkins <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/02/gabby-douglas-mom-natalie-hawkins_n_1733018.html?utm_hp_ref=mostpopular" target="_hplink">said in a video created by P&G's "Thank You Moms" campaign</a>. Though Gabby's dad, Air Force Staff Sgt. Timothy Douglas, may not have seen his daughter take home the gold in person, he reportedly <a href="http://www.usmagazine.com/celebrity-news/news/gabby-douglas-parents-supported-her-olympic-win-near-and-far-201238#ixzz22WHcfE3w" target="_hplink">helped the family pay for training and travel</a>.

  • Ryan Lochte

    U.S. swimmer Ryan Lochte scored five medals during his Olympic run in London -- <a href="http://www.nbcolympics.com/news-blogs/swimming/pheps-lochte-soni-clary-highlight-big-night-for-u-s-swimming-in-london.html" target="_hplink">two gold medals, two silvers and one bronze</a>. Who's been there cheering him on? His parents, Steve and Ileana "Ike" Lochte, who <a href="http://espn.go.com/espn/eticket/story?page=ryanvsryan" target="_hplink">divorced last year</a> but still lend the <a href="http://lightbox.time.com/2012/07/19/2012-olympian-portraits/#1" target="_hplink"><em>Time</em> cover boy</a> unconditional support. "My family was always there to love and support me. They filled my life with so much love. I just see so many kids whose parents aren't there," <a href="http://espn.go.com/espn/eticket/story?page=ryanvsryan" target="_hplink">the Olympian told ESPN</a>. He then reflected on the type of father he wants to be: "I want to be there for those first steps, those first words. And yet I have this profession where maybe I won't be able to be there. I just have this fear of not being there to be a part of my child's life. And I don't want to miss anything."

  • Hope Solo

    Hope Solo brought home the gold with the <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/05/sports/olympics/solobio-1.html?ref=hopesolo" target="_hplink">Olympic U.S. women's soccer team in 2008</a> and is hoping to replicate that success in the London games. Behind the star's success is a troubled family history. Growing up, <a href="http://www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek/2012/07/15/u-s-olympic-soccer-goalie-hope-solo-speaks.html" target="_hplink">Solo's mother, Judy, supported the family</a> while dad Jeffrey, a Vietnam vet, bounced from job to job. The couple divorced when Hope was seven. A year later, Jeffrey was sent to jail after allegedly attempting to kidnap Hope and her brother. A ten year estrangement followed, but Solo and her <a href="http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2178817/I-conceived-jail-Hope-Solo-mother-pregnant-conjugal-visit-father.html#ixzz22hCAE0r8" target="_hplink">dad reconciled when she began playing soccer for the University of Washington</a> -- in fact, he <a href="http://blog.seattlepi.com/seattlesports/2012/07/24/hope-solo-tells-her-compelling-story-in-upcoming-autobiography/" target="_hplink">never missed a game</a>. "No matter what he did, he was my father. He helped create the person I am," <a href="http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2178817/I-conceived-jail-Hope-Solo-mother-pregnant-conjugal-visit-father.html#ixzz22hCAE0r8" target="_hplink">Solo writes in her new memoir</a>. "'He showered me with love; he just didn't know how to be a husband or a father or a responsible member of society.

  • Venus And Serena Williams

    Serena and Venus Williams<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/05/serena-venus-williams-olympics-tennis-doubles_n_1743600.html" target="_hplink"> won the tennis doubles title at the Olympics on Sunday</a>, the second medal this year for younger sister Serena, who also won the singles gold. The sisters' parents, Oracene Price and Richard Williams, deserve accolades for <a href="http://www.usatoday.com/sports/tennis/2002-10-29-williams-divorce_x.htm" target="_hplink">keeping it civil after their 2002 divorce</a> for the sake of their daughters' tennis careers. "I was very honest with our children that a reconciliation would not happen," <a href="http://books.google.com/books?id=GtYDAAAAMBAJ&pg=PA160&lpg=PA160&dq="I+was+very+honest+with+our+children+that+a+reconciliation+would+not+happen,"+Oracene+Williams+said+in+a+statement.+"They've+accepted+our+divorce+and+love+us,+as+we+both+love+them.+Richard+and+I+will+continue+to+work+together+for+the+good+of+our+girls,+and+I+truly+wish+him+well."&source=bl&ots=fOZp5bJvIh&sig=0Fdk4ml9ypHcVdzwI5oHpoe4lWQ&hl=en&sa=X&ei=fiwgUOyyAeftiQLs1oHQBA&ved=0CFIQ6AEwAQ#v=onepage&q="I was very honest with our children that a reconciliation would not happen%2C" Price said in a statement. "They've accepted our divorce and love us%2C as we both love them. Richard and I will continue to work together for the good of our girls%2C and I truly wish him well."&f=false" target="_hplink">Prince said in a statement shortly after the divorce.</a> "They've accepted our divorce and love us, as we both love them. Richard and I will continue to work together for the good of our girls, and I truly wish him well."

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