Dewitt resident Rita Wieber is the perfect choice to judge Schuler Books’ upcoming Zombie Olympics. In her debut book “gym mom: The Twists and Turns of Your Daughter’s Gymnastics Career” she writes about both the stressful and gratifying times during her daughter Jordan’s 12 year quest to become a Olympic Gold medal winner. But just reading about the intensity of mom’s and her effort athlete daughter is enough to trigger a zombie-like stupor.
When writing about Jordyn’s early years in training Rita writes “with four children, including a baby I could not fathom getting Jordyn to the gym three nights a week.”
Wieber wrote the book for other gym moms on how to raise a competitive gymnast and it’s clear that part of the message is are great sacrifices and not just for the athlete, but for the whole family.
“This is the book I wished would’ve been handed me,” Rita Wieber said.
The book is a 10 chapter guide for mothers and it covers everything from travelling, the impact on siblings, coaches, sleep, injury, nutrition and mind games.
Wieber said “it is everything you need to enjoy gymnastics with your daughter.”
The author also hopes the book will help other mothers avoid some of the mistakes she made. In the book she writes “I was clueless about the wild, wonderful, sometimes wacky world of gymnastics.”
Wieber writes how when Jordyn was five, she tested high enough to be moved into a fast track competitive program requiring nine hours of practice a week. When Wieber learned the news her reaction was “that is ridiculous. She’s five years old for crying out loud.”
Little did Rita Wieber know then that 10 years later she would be crying out loud when her daughter won an Olympic gold medal in gymnastics at the 2011 Summer Olympics in London.
“I was definitely over involved for a period of a couple years,” Wieber said.
The book also provides a clear look at what is expected of not only the athlete but also of the parents and siblings.
In one chapter, Wieber writes about other options for competitive gymnastics including high school and college competition. She includes a segment for the parent that details varying approaches for when an athlete considers quitting the sport. She is also up front about what athletes will need to give up in their personal lives: a regional meet will trump a
school dance, for example.
The new book is a frank assessment of what it takes to have a competitive gymnast in the family, the author said. Wieber pulls no punches in the book about how extraordinary it is to have an Olympic athlete in the family, but also concludes in the book “All of it-the periods of joy and pride, frustration and disappointment-all of it is worth every moment.”
This past week Rita Wieber was on a plane to Memphis to watch her daughter perform in the Kellogg’s Tour of Gymnastic Champions which sponsored a 40 city tour of Olympic gymnasts. After that tour is over Jordyn will join up for another 43 city tour. Closer to home, Jordyn will be at the Palace of Auburn Hills on November 3 as part of the Kellogg tour. In the
meantime, if Rita could possibly forget what Jordyn looks like she only has to drive by one of the many billboards in Lansing with her daughter’s image on them warning about the dangers of driving and texting as part of Auto Owners
Insurance W82TXT campaign.
Wieber has plans to write other books on sport including the story of 10 Olympians seen through their mother’s eyes. In the meantime, Rita Wieber is planning her costume for the 4th Annual Zombie Night where she will help judge costume events and other Olympic-style events around the store including a Brain Eating contest and a “Limbo-O” event.
“I’ve never been a zombie before,” Wieber said.