For two exciting weeks in August, Americans will be cheering on their favorite Olympic competitors. Several sports such as gymnastics, swimming, and diving will finally get their fair share of the spotlight during the Summer Olympics that are being held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. According to Real Screen, Gold Medal Families will profile six Olympic hopefuls and their families as they do whatever it takes in order to compete in the games.These six extraordinary athletes and their supportive families will share with viewers what it's like as they continue their journey to fulfilling their Olympic dreams. Gold Medal Families will reveal the economic hardships, personal sacrifices, and great lengths these six athletes and their families are willing to go so that they have a very real chance of standing on the podium of the World Games.
"Growing up with a front row seat to the very best Olympic storytelling, I experienced firsthand what athletes and their families sacrifice for the love of their sport," said Charlie Ebersol, chairman and founder of The Company, who is producing the series for Lifetime. "For the first time, Gold Medal Families will take audiences inside the families behind great Olympic hopefuls in the final months before the games, showcasing the incredible support and love that these elite athletes are given throughout the highs and lows of their journey."
According to Lifetime's page for Gold Medal Families, 21-year-old Aly Raisman hails from Needham, Massachusetts, and is the most decorated U.S. gymnast from the 2012 London Games. This gold medal gymnast is a three-time captain and the only U.S. gymnast to win a gold medal on the floor exercise. She now has the chance to become the first U.S. gymnast to compete in back-to-back Olympics in more than 15 years.Aly is the oldest of four siblings and her parents, Lynn and Rick, may be best known for the video of them watching their daughter compete that went viral. Although Aly has a huge support base in her family, this Gold Medal Families athlete still knows exactly what she must do to be a part of the Olympic team. She recently told Us Magazine that she was excited for people to see the sacrifices her family has made for her.
"I wanted to do the show to show everyone how amazing and supportive my family is and how it takes a village for me to get to where I am," Aly explained. "Before I got my license, for example, my sisters always had to drive in the car with me when my mom took me to practice. They were too young to stay home alone, so they had to sit in the car for 30 minutes each way."
Gold Medal Families athlete Steele Johnson is 19-years-old and lives in Carmel, Indiana with his parents Bill and Jill, and siblings Race and Hollyn. Steele is one of the favorites to take the gold medal in diving, and in men's synchronized platform at the games. Besides investing financially and emotionally into Steele's dream to compete in Rio, as devout Christians, this close-knit family knows that as they undertake this exciting journey with Steele, that the church is another vital support system.
Another Gold Medal Families athlete is 19-year-old Jajaira Gonzalez who lives in Glendora, California, and was born with boxing in her blood. Her father, Jose, was a street boxer in Guadalajara before coming to the U.S. and two of her brothers, Joet and Jousce, are boxing powerhouses in their own right. Jajaira is determined to make a name for herself in the women's boxing world.
She trains with her father and brothers, and also helps support the family by cleaning houses alongside her mother, Sofia. Boxing is everything in the Gonzalez family and they are willing to do anything to help Jajaira make it to Rio.
Diver Jordan Windle is 17-years-old and hails from Morrisville, North Carolina. This Gold Medal Families athlete is often compared to his mentor and diving legend, Greg Louganis. At the age of two, Jordan was adopted from a Cambodian orphanage by Jerry Windle, who later went on to marry Andres Rodriguez.
Jordan's two fathers have made many sacrifices for their son, including leaving lucrative jobs and moving so that Jordan could work with one of the best coaches around. The family hopes that after investing thousands into diving fees and travel costs, that Jordan's Olympic dream will finally be realized.
Gold Medal Families will also be following 16-year-old Nastasya Generalova, who is a rhythmic gymnast from Los Angeles, California. She will be the first Olympic rhythmic gymnast of color, if she makes it to Rio. Her mother, Olga, is a former Russian-trained gymnast herself, and single mother who holds down several jobs to make ends meet. While other athletes may have big support systems with parents, coaches, and even masseuses as part of their entourage, Nastasya is often alone on competition days since her mother usually has to work and simply can't afford to be with her.Gold Medal Families will also follow swimmer Sean Grieshop's journey, he is 16-years-old and is from Austin, Texas. He is currently a top-ranked junior swimmer and if he wants to get to Rio, Sean has the daunting task of taking on champions Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte. Sean's parents, Neil and Anne, moved Sean and his two brothers, Ryan and Jack, from El Paso to Austin so that Sean could work with a renowned coach. With the trials just a few months away, this Gold Medal Families athlete was recently hit with a nasty surprise when his coach resigned.
Gold Medal Families is produced by The Company with Charlie Ebersol, Mike Lanigan, and Bryn Freedman serving as the executive producers. Mary Donahue and David Hillman executive produce for the Lifetime channel. Eight one-hour episodes have been ordered of Gold Medal Families, and back-to-back episodes will air on four consecutive Tuesdays.
Get to know the six Olympic hopefuls so you can cheer them on during the Rio games. Leave your comments, thoughts, and opinions below. Gold Medal Families premieres on Tuesday, June 28 at 9 p.m. ET on Lifetime.
[Image via Brokaw Is Gone/Twitter]