By Kathy Chin Leong
Jonny Moseley, the 1998 Olympic gold medalist in freestyle skiing, is a busy guy.
Although no longer competing, the 35-year-old California resident has appeared in his own video game, hosted an MTV television series, and skated as a competitor on Skating with the Stars where he placed fourth.
Moseley is also a husband and devoted dad of two boys, 19-month-old Tommy and 4-year-old Jack, who already loves to hit the slopes with his dad. We recently caught up with Moseley to talk about the sport he loves, fatherhood, and the lessons he learned from his own parents about helping a child reach his dreams.
1 How did your parents support your passion for skiing?
MOSELEY: When I started competing, I was in first or second grade and I moved into freestyle when I was 9 years old. I needed to keep skiing all year round, so in the summer, we would go to Oregon and Whistler, Canada. My parents were totally selfless during this time. They would make these eight-hour drives to Tahoe without complaining. I sometimes wonder how am I going to replicate what they did for me for my sons?
2 What has amazed you about fatherhood?
MOSELEY: I didn’t know I could do so much on so little sleep or know how far I could push the limit. I never realized how much more fun and more rewarding it is to be with your kids than to be traveling or skiing. I love hanging out with my 4-year-old son. He is the best little buddy. He is already skiing and taking to it.
3 What are your hopes for him?
MOSELEY: We hope that he is not pressured as he grows up skiing, since he has me as a dad. I guess it will depend on how my wife and I manage and approach things. My No. 1 goal is that he loves skiing. If not, it would be hard for me. I know that I have to be in that frame of mind that if he likes something else, I would be OK with that, too.
I am curious about a lot of things. So, if he is into something else, like music, I want to be there for him. What was interesting about my dad and mom was that whatever the kids liked, they followed up. They took us skiing because we loved it.
4 What lessons did your parents teach you that you want to pass to your kids?
MOSELEY: They always made us feel that they were having the best time and felt happiest when we were together -- no matter what we were doing. This is invaluable to pass on because it gave me a sense of confidence. No matter how bad things get, spending time with your family is always something you can count on.
5 Any advice for parents who have Olympic hopefuls?
MOSELEY: Always try to hedge their hopes by exposing them to other disciplines. This will help cut the pressure if they do make it and give them some other skills of they don't. Support and exposure is key, but the kid must be pretty self-motivated. Of course, I think pushing to try new things is OK, too
Kathy Chin Leong is editor of www.bayareafamilytravel.com, an online site for adventure-loving families.