Sons of IX
Mae and Jarrod Shoemaker
Parenting is no one-way street. Sometimes, the child is the supportive one. Take the Shoemakers. While Jarrod was pushing toward the 2008 Olympic triathlon, mom Mae was fighting her own battle, against breast cancer. She used her son's journey for motivation, setting a goal to watch him compete in Beijing. "I was going to be there," Mae says. Of course, mom provided her share of inspiration too. The high school field hockey coach (she played at the University of New Hampshire in 1972) didn't miss a single practice during her treatment. That kind of hanging-in-there definitely speaks to an endurance athlete. "I never immersed my kids in sports," says Mae, whose daughter, Jenna, is also a pro triathlete. "But they saw it was a part of my life. Maybe that's where their desire comes from." Oh, and when Jarrod finished 18th in Beijing, guess who was cheering him on from the stands?