Source: Indys Child Parenting Magazine

A Golden Victory at the Olympics
Grandparenting at its best

by Barbara Wynne

September 01, 2012

I became an Olympic Games “nut-head” in Barcelona in 1992. I love the international competitions and all the drama associated with athletes producing their personal bests. I vowed in 1992 that I would share this experience with some of my grandchildren.

It was through international tennis friends that my zest to attend the Olympic games began. I did a Moscow-Indianapolis tennis exchange in 1990 and the Russian coordinator’s husband, Yury Titov, was world head of gymnastics. I always called the late Valeria Titova my Russian sister and we shared several Olympic Games with our grandchildren. Yury Titov has always considered me part of his family and helped me obtain tickets to the Olympic Games.

I began in earnest in Atlanta in 1996 having grandsons join me to watch the games. We were there for 18 days watching every sport we could get tickets to but always gymnastics and tennis. Gregory, Ryan, Cary and Rob Wynne joined me there.

Next, I took Tucker Wynne in 2008 to China for a tour of the country and the Olympic Games. He was 16 and our opportunity to share time and interesting experiences with Indianapolis restaurant-owner, Yu Mei Lee, and her friends and family, made the trip far more memorable. Yes, I have adopted Yu Mei as my Chinese sister. Tucker loved the excitement of the Games, but his memories of climbing and running along the Great Wall and the many museums and temples we visited may outlast those he has of the Olympic Games.

I shared the London Olympics with my youngest grandson, J T Wynne. We both share July birthdays. He turned 15 and I celebrated my 79th birthday on the trip. Our trip to the London Olympics was coordinated by Baroness Angela Billingham and her daughter, Zoe Skinner. Yes, I call Angela my English sister and she claims we were joined at the hip at birth. We both love tennis and our grandsons! For 12 days J T, Tom, Ben and Charlie enjoyed playing many different sports, practicing tennis, and exchanging apps on their mobile phones. I believe they are forever texting buddies.

I recognize more than ever the importance of other relationships in making your life’s experiences more meaningful. I must admit that Zoe, Caroline and Angela orchestrated a perfect mix of sightseeing, sports to attend, meals to enjoy and accommodations that could never be topped. Since I am not an ageless wonder, Zoe and Dennis were always there to accompany me on the Tube, find the shuttle for seniors and offer me a hand up and down the stadium stairs. Most of all, the Skinners, Jones and dear Angela made JT and I part of their family, their club, and their circle of friends for two wonderful weeks.

I know that JT made my trip special and also helped me along the way. He could twist tops off of water bottles when I couldn’t. He could carry big duffle bags up circular staircases when I couldn’t. He had the energy that energized me each day. Maybe I had the vision to imagine all the experiences we could share together in England, but he helped make it happen. We joined a tour to Stonehenge, Windsor Castle, and Bath and enjoyed seeing the beautiful English countryside. I know that I gave JT my Olympic “Nut-head” status and on the fifth day of the Olympics, he was wrapped in an American Flag and a total fan!

I succumbed to his biggest request: finding an Oxford University sweatshirt for his sister, Korey. So on the last day, I got my pick: a visit to Westminster Abbey. We did all of these things together and I believe that JT and I will always remember our adventures in a very special way.

Sharing the Olympic Games with my grandsons is my “Golden Olympic Victory.” I am very indebted to my dear adopted-sisters who helped me accomplish this goal and to my husband, who said, “Go for the Gold.” Most of all, I will always treasure the memories I have of quality time spent with my grandsons.