Monday, August 31, 2009

Dee Foster Theriault: Dear Dee Dee

For the average gymnastics fan, the sport comes around every four years with the Olympics. For the rabid gymnastics fan, the sport is alive with excitement from recreational gymnastics to elite gymnastics to the burgeoning NCAA women's gymnastics teams each and every year. Unlike football or baseball, there really isn't a gymnastics season, so there is very little downtime. For an athlete that reaches the Level 10, Elite, and NCAA level, the talent pool dwindles down to a few gymnasts, not only at their club, but also across the country. That can lead to some isolation in the gym with the added pressure of trying to make the Olympic or World teams, or even obtaining a coveted NCAA scholarship. The athlete may start to compartmentalize all of their goals and take the stress of the sport into all aspects of their young lives, so that is where Dee Foster Theriault steps in.
As a former National and NCAA Champion, Dee understands the pressures of rising gymnasts whether their goals are in recreational or elite level gymnastics. She knows what it takes to make it to the top and she knows how to handle those obstacles that turn up along the way.
Dear Dee Dee is the first-ever mentoring program for gymnasts of all levels by establishing a relationship with the athlete and offering advice, not as a coach, but as a mentor. This is an important part of her philosophy to being "committed to the athlete and not the outcome." She states that she is "an outsider with a lot of insider information" and after over a decade away from the sport, she is ready to give back to a sport that gave her so much for 17 years.

The crucial part to her mentoring program is establishing parental involvement so that they can see the importance of their child's physical health, mental health, and see all perspectives of the athlete's life. Her parents were heavily involved in her development not only as a person, but also as a gymnast. As a result, she has a positive view on the sport and the famous coaches she trained under including Bela Karolyi, Don Peters, and University of Alabama coaches, David and Sarah Patterson. Dee knows that the Elite gymnast is going to have different needs than the NCAA gymnast who knows their body better, understands their physical limitations, and feels more confident voicing their opinion because they are older and competing every weekend. For the NCAA athlete, it is a job where you have to balance schoolwork, your behavior, your activities, and the sport that gave you a scholarship, gymnastics. So while the elite gymnast may need more mental health management, the NCAA gymnast may need more work on time management. The bottom line for Dear Dee Dee is delivering "healthy, fruitful gymnasts".

Her philosophy was hard at work this summer at the recent 2009 CoverGirl Classic where she mentored a young gymnast to great success. The mother of the elite athlete even sang Dee's praises in a testimonial saying, "When she started working with Dee the change was almost immediate. My daughter respected Dee right away, knowing that Dee had been there before and could totally relate to everything she was going through." Even more vital to the mentor program is the fact that the gymnast's parent felt she "no longer need concern myself with day-to-day gymnastics issues; I can just be a mom." This is all just the beginning for Theriault as she sees her program expanding to partnerships with NCAA and USA Gymnastics and even utilizing her website's forum to "evolve into gymnasts helping each other." Her hopes also include guest mentoring with former Olympians and NCAA champions.

While Dee does have big goals for her program, there is one athlete she has set her sights on. When asked who it was, Theriault replied without hesitation, "Alicia Sacramone." Sacramone was the incredible team captain of the 2008 Women's Olympic Gymnastics team for the US in Beijing who, unfortunately, did not have the meet of her life there. It is Dee who believes that Alicia has "yet to tap her potential and with her natural instincts as a team leader, she needs to learn to lead for herself." With Sacramone's recently announced comeback, it seems that Theriault is ready to scoop up one of USA Gymnastics most talented athletes for some Dear Dee Dee love and inspiration.

For more information on Dee Foster Theriault, Dear Dee Dee, and her book series, click here: Dear Dee Dee.

**For full disclosure, my testimonial is also up on Dee Foster Theriault's website. She is a true role model as well as a friend.**


  1. Great blog...way to go! I'll pass it on to my 11,000 plus at Twitter et al..
    Anthony Beach

    PS're a FastLeader...please share this and a video of Dee here where I'm No.1 in the world for views...

  2. Pass this on for you and Dee..

  3. Thank you! I will pass this along to Dee.
    Best Wishes,


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