Is May the next Olympian?

Posted on Jul 10, 2012 | 5 comments

Workout? What workout? - May in her standing frame

16 days until the Olympics!

I write frequently of May’s increased strength in her legs. But, what of her weakest area, that of her shoulders and arms?

The Olympics are crafted around stories of athletes working for years, against all odds to achieve. Imagine if they gave out medals for the kind of Olympic achievements May has reached. A girl whom doctors had no further expectations than that she would breathe and pee.

No medal or world ranking compares with May reaching forward to feel my lips sing her favorite song, or to touch her baby brother’s face. Or how, last night, after her bath, as I lay May on her side wrapped up in her towel, she pressed her arm down to her side to push herself up, halfway to sitting.

May can use her arms to play with toys while in her standing frame. She can rub her eyes with the back of her hand when they itch. She likes to help me hold her spoon during dinner. And, we all know she is a budding musician. May began all these skills in her first year, and they have become so normalized now, it is easy to overlook how much more adept she has become at them.

Like Olympic athletes, May has endured physiotherapy, exercise, stretches and specialized equipment. Her goals are years in the making and against all odds, and they are no less than any Olympic dream. She may not receive a medal for all her work, but a bit of bouncing is its own reward.

In a video about her son, Alison Rushgrove, mum of Paralympian Ben Rushgrove, talks about what helped her son achieve so much, despite his cerebral palsy. “We gave him the freedom to flourish,” she says. That’s the kind of gift I hope to give to May. Watch the video. It is genuinely inspiring.

Ben’s mum reminded me of this gem from May’s first year. Witness the fitness, Olympians! May is a professional, and she is after your medals!

This post is an entry for the #PGRaisingOlympians Celebrate Their Success Linky, sponsored by P&G.


  1. She is her own Olympian.

  2. You should post a new video of May Salsa dancing. Her hips twisting and legs danckng it great! I can’t wait to dance again this summer.

    • We can’t wait either!

  3. Great post and LOVE the video – she’s so exuberant! You’re so right that we often overlook what children have achieved so far. It’s inspiring to see the triumphs May has had already, especially since doctors’ expectations were so low! I wonder which new ones will be around the corner.

    • If they only they did give medals to happy bouncers – she’d be in the running!

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