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Associated Press
U.S. gymnast Alexandra Raisman performs on the balance beam during the Artistic Gymnastics women\'s qualification at the 2012 Summer Olympics, Sunday, July 29, 2012, in London.

While the Olympians are the ones in the spotlight, it's hard to imagine that they are the only ones feeling the heat.

The women's gymnastics highlighted Aly Raisman on Sunday, whose parents were shifting up and down in their seats as they watched their daughter fly through her uneven bars routine — described at USA Today as "the anxiety, hilarity and ecstasy of two pretty proud parents." Gabby Douglas's mother also become a topic of interest, as she talked about the difficulties of letting her daughter live with her trainers for the last year and a half. The parents of these athletes have spurred an online discussion of the sacrifices involved in raising an Olympian.

"My hat is off to you all," Lisa Suhay noted in the Christian Science Monitor. "Yet I wave my hat and smile for the parents who chose the path that kept them walking right beside their child. The path where everyone is under the same roof or at least in the same state at the end of the day."

"I don’t find it so easy to choose which parents to cheer for," KJ Dell'Antonia observed on Motherlode. "I see them in the stands, surrounded by the competitors’ siblings, grandparents and friends, and I suspect that a lot of difficult choices put them in those red-white-and-blue shirts. It’s a balancing act that must surely be different for each family and each athlete. Does one parent need the strength to hold on to a child, while another needs the strength to let the child go?"

"I believe that there is a deeper strength we must train into a child, a tempering that forges their ability to win in life and still be on the medal stand," Suhay said. "The kind of Olympic mom who is up at 5 a.m. making toast and hugging her child and whispering, 'You can do this' in her ear before the event. I would not be able to give that responsibility to a stranger because those are the golden moments all parents treasure — win or lose."

Rachel Lowry is a reporter intern for the Deseret News.