Athletes Celebrate Their Moms

What do you want to tell your mom this Mother's Day? Here's what many of the top fitness athletes and personalities had to say.

Dear moms (and motherly figures) everywhere,

You rock our world.

You deal with our poopy diapers (at least until we're potty-trained—and hopefully, most of us are); you drive us to sports practices; you know our favorite foods and make the extra effort to cook them when we visit; you make sure our sandwiches keep a good ratio of peanut butter to jelly; you make many sacrifices we appreciate years later.

The list goes on and on.

Quite simply, many of us could not become who we are today without your superhero, mom-like powers. On this Mother's Day, join the athletes as they write letters expressing their gratitude for how much their moms and people in this motherly role have shaped their lives and careers. Some of our athletes are mothers themselves, who in turn are committed to raising their children in a healthy manner—poopy diapers and all.

I remember you leaving me to play in the sandpit on my first day of primary school and telling me that you'd return in 10 minutes because you had to do some grocery shopping. You didn't come back until the end of school, which was around 7 hours later. I screamed and cried for you to come back, and probably told you I hated you for it at the time (ha-ha). Now, I cannot thank you enough for that "tough love" because it, along with many of your attributes, positively helped me become a responsible man who isn't afraid to go at it alone and shine through in my independence. You have inspired me. If I could change a thing about you, I wouldn't.

- Kris Gethin

You've run marathons, completed multiple charity bike rides, competed in bodybuilding and strongwoman, earned your master's and doctorate degrees—all while working and raising two crazy boys with your stud husband. Thank you for instilling fitness and proper nutrition, as well as the concept of hard work and perseverance, in me! You're the true definition of someone who leads by example.

- Corey St. Clair

Dear Leillani,

I want to be your hero by raising you every day, knowing the importance of finding beauty in your strength, believing in yourself, chasing your dreams, having confidence in your capabilities, and persevering through difficulties. I want you to grow up courageous, relentless, and loving, and I will do my best to teach you by being the example. Although there are times I wish I could reverse time to keep you my baby, I'm extremely excited for the person you will blossom into! You are my sunshine, and I'll always be here to help you find your way.

- Melody Wyatt

I am so thankful to have you! You are such an intelligent, caring, and inspiring role model. Your will to live life to its fullest and to be as healthy and fit as you can be while battling your neuromuscular disease has taught me more than you will ever know. I know you live in pain each day, but few know because you never complain. You always have a smile on, have such a great sense of humor, and continue to push yourself every day! You are sure one tough cookie and someone I am proud to tell everyone about. You not only inspire me but everyone who meets you, too. I love you so very much and want you to know I feel extremely blessed to talk to you about everything. Thank you for being an amazing mother who provides such positive inspiration.

- Kathleen Tesori

You are my best friend and biggest supporter. Thank you for teaching me to love others and being the best example of how to share joy and happiness in others' lives. You are not only my role model but also my angel in life. I can always count on you for anything—you always seem to just know when I need a laugh. You are the best mother I could ever ask for.

- Lacey Dunn

You taught me the value of strong morals, values, and beliefs, and inspired me to always stay true to myself. Since as far back as I can remember, you have always believed in me and encouraged me to pursue my passions, no matter how crazy they might have seemed—and for that, I am forever grateful. I know that you and Dad are my biggest fans, and I am yours! I would not be the woman I am today without our daily conversations, your guidance, and your unconditional love. I love you, Mama Nugget!

- Caryn Paolini

You believed in me when everybody else turned their back on me after my accident. When everyone else saw me as a hassle, you were there for me no matter what. Whether I was depressed or stuck in a dark place, you gave me the light I needed to claw my way out. You gave me the strength I needed to overcome. Thank you from the bottom of my heart, Mom.

- Nick Scott

I know times haven't always been easy, but your strength in hardship has shown me that it is possible to overcome adversity. Despite my flaws, you love me unconditionally. Just the other day, I was driving in the car and remembered the song you dedicated to me, "Free Bird." I hope you know how loved you are. I appreciate all you've done for me. I hope that when I have children, I'm able share with them all I have learned from you. You have such a beautiful heart, and I can't think of another woman I would rather have in my corner!

- Kristina Olson

Dear Grandma,

You've always been the constant. Without your love and support, I wouldn't have the courage to chase my dreams. You make me realize that I am more than enough and can do anything I set my mind to. You taught me to choose fitness and my passion over a life of monotony and "normalcy." When others have failed their jobs, you stepped up and exceeded the role of just "grandma." You're my best friend, my mom, my "mamala," my support, my inspiration, and my heart.

- Alex Silver-Fagan

You gave me compliments and patted my back even for doing things that I didn't do "perfectly." You boosted my confidence and self-esteem, and never made me feel guilty or shameful if I ever came up short. Because of you, confidence in myself has squashed my need to be perfect. You taught me if someone else could do something, I could, too!

- Jessica James

You have a full-throttle work ethic and never complained. You have always been the backbone of our family and played the chords through tough love and support. As I expect my first child in September, I only hope that your guidance rubbed off on me, as I will push my child to be his or her best (but will also back off, knowing when enough is enough).

- Craig Capurso

I attribute all my success in life to the moral and intellectual education, as well as the unconditional love, I receive from you on a daily basis. I realize how much you have given up to devote yourself to me, my older sister, my father, Granny (who is 89), and her grandchildren. Motherhood is a 24-hour job with no holidays or sick days. You taught me how to study and to think critically. I excelled in school, and now I excel in life because of my you. Singer Jann Arden sums it up best: "I've got a good mother, and her voice is what keeps me here."

- Dr. Sara Solomon

Even though you may not understand the world of bikini competitions, you do whatever you can to support me in it,whether it be riding your bike with me, running during contest prep, or making me laugh on stage 'cause I heard you rooting for me in the crowd. You're always down for whatever I want to do, and you do it with a smile on your face, even when I run through muddy trails and you have to walk your bike for half a mile. You never complain. When something is important to me, it's automatically important to you. You're the only person I trust with my animals when I'm out of town competing, and even though you have managed to steal a few of them over the years, I wouldn't have it any other way. Oh, and lastly, thank you for my genetics. Without them, none of this would be possible!

- Lindsey Weigand

You showed me how being involved in sports, staying active, lifting weights, and eating balanced meals can make life so much more enjoyable! After Scooby Doo in the mornings, you always made us put our shoes on and get outside to play. It would have been so much easier to plop the three of us siblings in front of the TV, but instead you encouraged us to use our imaginations and have fun. Now that I myself am a mom, I have mom-sized shoes to fill because of your influence! I'm so excited to watch Sammie grow up, play outside, and always make it home to sit down for family dinners—just like we did growing up.

- Jessie Hilgenberg

To my three little girls,

Food is something to be enjoyed and not something you have to think about all the time. I strive to teach you the value of foods, portion control, and not categorizing any particular foods into "good" and "bad" foods. It's perfectly fine to eat only when you're hungry and stop when you are full, even if there is food left over on the plate. I hope that my own active lifestyle will show you that being active is an important part of being both happy and healthy.

- Brooke Erickson

You have always been in my corner, my number one support, and my biggest fan. You always put others before yourself and have gone out of your way to give your children a better life. When you decided to compete in your first show, I'd never seen anyone more dedicated to a cause, just like you are as a mother. You have shown me what true dedication is, and you motivate me every day to be the best me—not just in the gym or in fitness, but in life, as a friend, as a sister, and someday as a mother. I hope I can inspire those around me like you do.

- Katie Chung Hua

You have taught me what it means to love without condition. Your bright spirit and compassion left everyone in your path with a smile. Through you, I have learned what the power of encouragement, a strong hug, and a good laugh can do for a person whom I hold dearly in my heart. You are deeply missed by me and by everyone who knew you. Thank you for leaving us with your kind-hearted and loving spirit! I know you are watching over me, and I will make you proud!

- Rachel Labender

You taught me the discipline of eating the same healthy foods every day, as well as instilled in me patience to take a step back and to never take shortcuts. Thank you for making Dad buy me the brick weight set for Christmas when I was 13 years old; you always walked everywhere to stay in shape and inspired me to stay in shape with cardio. Thank you for teaching me to have faith and never give up on my dreams and goals.

- Jerome "Hollywood" Ferguson

I wouldn't be where I am without your love and support. I was a rascal growing up, but you managed to keep me on track. Thank you for that! Your great cooking helped me go from a skinny kid to a man with muscle.

- Jake Morgan

I thank you for showing me love through sacrifices, patience, and genuine kindness. You always taught me to be respectful toward others. A smile and kind words go a long way in making someone else's day. Because of you, I never quit and always finish what I start. I have learned that a strong work ethic supersedes talent. Your love, support, and honesty (even when I didn't want to hear it) set me on the right path. Most importantly, you've been an incredible mom in every sense of the word: loving, caring, nurturing, compassionate, and a role model. I love you!

- Laura Bailey

Over the last 30 years, you have done a tremendous job supporting, raising, and loving me. Even as a kid, I had a huge appetite and you spent hours in the kitchen "meal prepping" for me and buying all of my favorite foods at the grocery store. You took my brother and me everywhere, exposing us to new people, places, and activities. We were one active family; we played hard and ate hard, too! Mom, I watched you work out on the Soloflex in our living room five days a week for years. Now my daughter watches me work out in my home gym, also located in our living room. It goes to show how the most routine, everyday activities can make the biggest impact on a person's life. Thank you for showing me that food, family, and fun aren't an ordinary but an extraordinary way to spend your days. Your enthusiasm for life was contagious and I'd say that is one of my best character traits that I inherited.

- Zane Hadzick

Throughout my 27 years, you've loved, supported, and cared for me unconditionally. I've learned to become a strong, independent woman. You are more than just my mom; you're my best friend. I can only hope that one day, when the time comes, I am as great a mom as you. I love you to the moon and back!

- Karina Baymiller

What would you tell your mom that you are thankful for? Or if you're a mom, what would you tell your child?