Relatives of swimmer Michael Phelps of the U.S. cheer him on in the men's 200m individual medley final during the London 2012 Olympic Games (Photo : Reuters)
The Olympics can bring family together, or have family distance themselves so they won't be considered as a distraction to the athletes, but for some Olympic athletes, family support can lead to a golden win.
Already considered as the greatest Olympian, Michael Phelps has been on television as much as his mother Debbie. She has been featured supporting him in most, if not all, Olympic races throughout his career including the 2000 Sydney Summer Olympics.
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As the Olympian won his record 21st overall medal, noticeably absent is father Fred Phelps.
Fred and Debbie separated in 1992 and divorced in 1993, but despite the lack of a father figure, it hasn't stopped Michael's dream of being the best swimmer alive. Unlike some fathers who attempt to get into a child's life upon reaching success, Fred has kept his distance.
"This is not about me, it's about him," said Fred in 2008, back when Michael was preparing for the Beijing Summer Olympics.
Fred was seen at the 2004 Athens Summer Olympics, but has not flown to future Olympic Games since.
Family support is alive and well for gymnast Gabby Douglas. The gymnast became the first African American to win gold in all-around women's gymnastics, and watching her was mother Natalie Hawkins.
Hawkins and her husband, Timothy Douglas, have shown their support for their daughter, despite the parents' separation.
Gabby's father was not at the London Olympics to see his daughter win gold for Team USA, but has been present during her Olympic Trials in San Jose, California.
Timothy is an Air Force sergeant and served multiple deployments during her childhood, but surprised her at the trials, holding the American flag with "Go Gabby Douglas, Love, Dad" written on it.
"I'm like, 'Who's calling my name?' And then I look up," said Gabby. "It was my dad and his friend, and I haven't seen him in a while. They were holding up the flag. And I almost felt like bawling. I was like, 'Oh, my gosh, Dad!"
"I just missed her so much," said the Air Force sergeant. "It's just so thrilling what's going on."
Fellow gymnast Aly Raisman's parents have also been supportive, to the point a NBC camera keeps focus on them whenever the gymnast performs.
Lynn and Ricky Raisman can be heard saying "Let's go," "Catch it," "Come on, Aly," among a few things while squirming in their seats, as their daughter performed for an Olympic medal.
"It's just one of those moments," Lynn Raisman told USA Today. "It's just so magnified. Every single twist and turn. It's just crazy."
Outside of Team USA, South African swimmer Chad le Clos received attention when he defeated Michael Phelps in the 200-meter butterfly, but slightly stealing the attention away is his father Bert, whose joy for his son garnered Internet attention following an interview with the BBC.
"This is unbelievable. Look at [Chad]. He's beautiful, look at this, what a beautiful boy. He is committed like you can't believe. He's the most beautiful boy you could ever meet. Look at him he is crying like me. I love you," said Bert.
It's not all supportive however, case in point Chinese diver Wu Minxia. The diver won gold in the three-meter springboard, with her parents watching from a distance. In fact, the parents have not spoken to their daughter since landing in London and refrain from telling her events within the family.
"We never tell her what's happening at home," Wu Jueming said. "We even kept the news that her grandparents died from her. When grandma died, [Wu] seemed almost like she had a premonition, and she called us asking if she was okay. We had to lie; we told her, 'everything's okay.'"
According to The Province, this method has been going on for years. The diver's mother had also been tackling breast cancer for several years, but the diver, once again, was not told about it.
Wu Jueming added, "We long ago realized that our daughter doesn't belong to us completely. Enjoying the company of family? I don't think about it. I don't dare think about it."