Consumer goods manufacturer Procter & Gamble recently announced its sponsorship of 28 U.S. Olympic and Paralympic hopefuls for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. These world class athletes, part of the company’s global campaign that includes sponsorship of more than 150 athletes around the world, will represent iconic P&G brands at the London Games.
P&G also announced the launch of the P&G|Team USA Youth Sports Fund, with a goal of raising $500,000 through the London 2012 Games. The fund will help moms raise happy, healthy kids by providing broader access to youth sports as part of P&G’s ‘Thank you, Mom’ campaign. This is part of the company’s global effort to raise more than $5 million for youth sports.
Beach volleyball player Kerri Walsh is one of the Olympic hopefuls who has partnered with Pampers ahead of the Olympics this summer.
“As both a mom and an athlete, I am proud to be affiliated with the P&G ‘Thank you, Mom’ campaign and the Pampers brand to celebrate moms of Team USA athletes and moms across the country,” said Walsh, gold medalist at the Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008 Olympic Games and Pampers brand athlete. “The support of Team USA and youth sports by P&G and its brands brings this commitment to life in an impactful way.”
Walsh took the time to talk about the partnership, the balancing act of being a mom and professional athlete, and her training and expectations for the London Olympics this summer.
AH: It seems like you and your family’s partnership with Pampers is a perfect match. For what reasons did you agree to partner up with them?
KW: My boys in their Pampers are the cutest things ever. The limited edition Team USA diapers are hitting stores soon. Our family just got our first shipment to our house last week. I am so patriotic and I love seeing my boys run around in their stars and stripes. I love the fact that it is not just a deal with me as an athlete, it is a deal with me as a mom, with my husband and my kids. This is the ultimate team venture were on, and I am proud to be part of the Pampers and P&G team.
AH: Will you be involved at all (and in what ways) with the “Thank You Mom” campaign? What do you think is the importance of this campaign to youth sports programs?
KW: I am really honored to be aligned with P&G and Pampers. I’m a new mom and I am an Olympian, aspiring for a gold medal, so partnering with P&G is something that is on my bucket list. I want to align myself with the best and they are the best with what they do because they have so many beautiful brands. They are sponsoring my family and my dreams and I’m just really proud to be working with them. The ‘Thank you, Mom’ campaign is something I’m proud to be involved in, and it is just that, thanking the moms out there. There is a really wonderful event on the P&G Facebook page, where for every new ‘Like’, Procter & Gamble will donate one dollar up to $100,000 to the P&G|Team USA Youth Sports Fund. They are funding kids and allowing them to have easier access to sports. As a mom, I take that responsibility really heavily; I want my kids to be healthy and live wonderful, well-rounded lives. Sports provided that for me so partnering up with the ‘Thank you, Mom’ campaign and the P&G|Team USA Youth Sports Fund is a beautiful thing. It’s a really good fit for my family, and a really good fit for me. It is really rewarding.
AH: How has being a mom impacted your fitness, if at all? Was it hard coming back to volleyball fitness after giving birth?
KW: Mentally was way harder than physically. I worked out pretty aggressively through both pregnancies, and that helped me to hit the ground running. I took my four weeks off after having the boys, and then I was on the beach ready to go. Not because I was trying to prove anything, just because I loved it. After Sundance it was way harder. I carried my weight a little longer, and I think it’s also because I had less time with a newborn and a one-year-old. It was hard for me, but again my support system kicked in and I was able to get back to work. When I’m working I’m happy and really fulfilled, and that helps me to feel like a better mom.
AH: How has having two kids affected your volleyball career? Can you discuss the balancing act being a mom and volleyball player?
KW: It is the ultimate challenge, for sure, but it is the best challenge ever. My whole life I have truly wanted to be a mother and I have wanted to be a working mother. I feel so blessed to have a career that I love, and a family that I love more than life itself. Life as a mom is really, really fun. It’s really challenging, difficult and so rewarding, but it’s a team effort. I’m just really happy with where we are.
AH: Now, you’re gearing up for London this summer. You’ve won two gold medals already, but how would a third gold medal this year be different from the first two?
KW: I hope my sons take away [from the Olympic Games] the courage it takes to follow your dreams. It’s a scary thing to put yourself out there because you can fail. I hope after London they know that their mom is a three-time gold medalist and she is one tough cookie.
AH: As far as your training goes, how do you feel about where you are right now on your road to London?
KW: I have added a lot more focus on Pilates and my mental training so I have a more well-rounded, balanced regimen. As I have gotten older and have been a professional for so long, my team, the ‘A team,’ are people I trust and love so much. We work together to get the best out of me. It’s a really fun time right now because I took time off to have my babies and rebuild my body. Right now, I feel like my foundation is so much stronger and so much more stable than it has ever been. We looked at this as a time to correct everything that has been off in the past years, and now I feel really strong. I am ready to go and ready to go kick butt in London.
AH: You will be going up against younger athletes in the Olympics- I think it’s fair to say you’re a veteran. People tend to correlate age with performance, the older an athlete gets, the more their game suffers. But you do have experience over the younger players. Are your expectations/goals still to go all the way and win Gold?
KW: I’m doing what I love with all my heart, and being a mom hasn’t changed my passion for my career, it’s only enhanced it. I feel like there is so much left in me, and so much left in Misty and I as a team, and we want to max it out. It’s all about what your heart’s telling you, and I’m going to chase it.