Athletes can't get to the Olympics alone. They need a dedicated, devoted support system willing to do whatever it takes to help them realize their gold-medal dreams. In celebration of Valentine's Day at the Torino Games, USA TODAY's Jill Lieber talked to some parents and spouses who've given their all in the name of love:
Dussault's dream becomes a family goal
My Dear Rebecca,
Six years ago, I married you. It was on that November day in Crested Butte, Colo., that I embraced all of who you are. That beautiful woman, that devout and humble Christian, and that amazing athlete. Family has always been at the center of our lives. We prayed about this talent God had given you, and three years ago, the three of us committed ourselves to chasing the Olympic dream, and now on this Valentine's Day, we find ourselves living that dream! Now, it is time for that athlete in you to shine. I am so very proud of you, Rebecca, you are the Olympian.
Happy Valentine's Day!
Love, Sharbel and Tabor
Rebecca Dussault never leaves home without her two secret weapons: husband Sharbel, 25, and son Tabor, 4 1/2.
In fact, the 25-year-old from Gunnison, Colo., wouldn't be where she is today, the top female on the U.S. cross-country ski team, if not for them.
In 1999, after a promising junior career, she was burned out and quit the sport. She turned her focus to starting a family. Then in 2003, she competed in a local race and finished second. The following weekend, she entered another race and won. That rekindled her competitive fire.
"I really pushed her to think about coming back," says Sharbel, part-owner of a company that sells and installs fabric structures. "She was hesitant at first. She didn't know how we could do it as a family because we would only do it as a family. We prayed about it. We felt God was calling her back and us back as a family."
With the support of his business partners, Sharbel has been Mr. Mom, and Tabor a globetrotting tot ever since.
"Tabor has adapted so well to the travel," Sharbel says. "He has been the easiest part of it all. He's right on the sideline, cheering as loud as he can. ... It hasn't been easy. There have been plenty of ups and downs. But I wouldn't trade it for anything.
"It has been an amazing adventure, an amazing family time."
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