The Olympic Games is not just about winning and losing, or showmanship and human endeavour; it is also a stage to show one's intimate emotions and deepest bonds. It reveals the best in men and some produce the most wonderful moments of life. Like it did on early Wednesday morning.
Michael Phelps was through with his histrionics at the podium after his 200m butterfly win before he set off on an elaborate lap of honour, which finally led him to where family members were sitting. The 21-time Olympic champion climbed up the gallery and hugged and kissed his mother Deborah and his fiancee Nicole as the cameras kept flashing at them.
Then the 31-year-old swimmer took baby Boomer in his arms and gave the three-month-old a kiss and a cuddle before speaking to the media about the advantage of having his family here. “I am enjoying it a lot more and being able to have my family here, Boomer and Nicole, helps definitely. That's just awesome."
Phelps has always spoken about the role his mother has played in his becoming who he is today. He has also recently said that the birth of Boomer has helped him have a different take on life and focus on his swimming more than before.
"I wanted to hold him longer. I have Face Time with him every night. Good to see he was awake. He usually just sleeps all the time,” the Baltimore Bullet said.
Like Phelps, American cyclist Kirstin Armstrong, who won a third consecutive gold medal in individual time trial at the Rio Olympics on Wednesday, talked elaborately about her son and her juggling between the two roles of a cyclist and a mother.
At 42 years of age, Armstrong is one of the oldest athletes in these games. But neither age nor being a mother has kept her from winning the gold and proving that those two responsibilities can be juggled successfully.
“For so long we have been told that we're finished at a certain age. Athletes are showing that this is not true,” Armstrong told reporters at a press conference before showering words of adulation for his young kid.
"Lucas tucked his head into my armpit and said 'why are you crying mom, you won?'” she said.
“It's another life lesson to teach him -- why we cry when we're overwhelmed with happiness. He has already learned about dedication and sacrifice. He gets it. He calls me Kristin Armstrong, not momma, when I'm on the bike."