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Heather du Plessis-Allan meets proud Kiwi parents at the Olympics

One News reporter Heather du Plessis-Allan salutes some very special people.
Heather du Plessis-Allan, nz olympic team, olympics, 2012 olympics, london olympics, black sticks

If I’d known how little Di Basley gets to see of her Olympian son, I wouldn’t have interrupted their lunch. Not long before I rudely bowled over, her son Dean had texted his mum to say he had a free hour for lunch if the family was around. They stopped doing what they were doing and went to lunch.

Di’s flown 19,000km to London to watch Dean captain the Black Sticks at the Olympics, and the odd hour for lunch with him is all she gets. But she’s so proud of her son, she doesn’t mind. She knows he has training, strategy talks, massages, team sessions – all squeezed in between the hockey games he’s here to play. Di’s typical of the Olympic parents I’ve met.

Since arriving in London, the closest Trevor and Shona Taylor have come to their son Peter is 12m. Trevor arrived with a head cold so no-one in the family is allowed near Peter’s rowing team. One day they were in the crowd when Peter walked past, but they could only wave at each other. Imagine how proud these parents are of their kids.

They watched them take their first steps, took them to training, dried their tears of frustration, saw them win competition after competition, and now they are watching them at the biggest competition of them all. Sometimes I see the families grabbing the moments they can.

Bronze glow: Heather du Plessis-Allan with Mark Todd, Simon Dallow and Andrew Nicholson

The Kiwis meet at an east London coffee shop next to the Olympic stadium which is run by a New Zealand woman and it’s like a little slice of home. But the next time I walk past a mum in that café, I won’t stop to say hi. I’ll let her enjoy the little time she has with her son or daughter, before he or she has to go back to being an Olympic athlete.

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