By David Gold at The Mayfair Hotel in London

Athlete mumsApril 18 - Procter & Gamble (P&G) is unveiling a series of short documentaries telling the lives of some of Britain's top Olympic and Paralympic athletes through the eyes of their mothers as part of the Worldwide Olympic Sponsor's "Thank you, mum" campaign.

An exclusive preview of a brief documentary featuring Carol Hoy, the mother of triple Beijing 2008 gold medal-winning cyclist Sir Chris Hoy – a P&G athlete ambassador who also won gold at Athens 2004 – was shown at The Mayfair Hotel in London last night.

In the first of eight short films (click here to watch) Hoy recalls the time her son first rode on a girl's bike, which he quickly wanted to exchange for a better, and presumably more masculine, model – before it shows the legendary cyclist winning his gold medals in Beijing.

Hoy also discusses the reservations she felt at her son's bike-related activities when he already had a perfectly good degree – an Applied Sports Science degree from the University of Edinburgh.

"I think it does seem mad to earn your living from riding a bike, but it's what makes him happy," she said.

"In Beijing, watching Chris standing up on the podium was absolutely unbelievable.

"I don't know if I cried the whole way through, or laughed or smiled, but I think I woke up the next morning and said to my husband, David, 'I dreamt that Chris has won three gold medals' and he said, 'I know, so did I...'"

In all 50 documentaries will be rolled out worldwide by P&G over the coming months.

Further episodes will feature mums (pictured top) Pat Radcliffe, the mother of world marathon record holder Paula; Pat Payne, mother of two-time world 10 kilometres open water champion Keri-Anne, and Kim Tancock, whose son Liam is a double world 50 metres backstroke gold medallist.

Also featuring are Alison Rushgrove, the mother of Ben, the Paralympic T36 100 metres silver medallist; Pauline Pendleton, whose daughter Victoria is the Olympic cycling sprint champion, and Jessica Ennis' mother, Alison Powell. 

"At his first Olympics we went out to support him; it is the most amazing feeling," Kim Tancock, told insidethegames about how she felt when her son, Liam, made it big on the world stage.

"You cannot describe it, you feel as though you are going to burst with pride.

"The day he qualified [for the Olympics] it was pretty amazing."

Dawn French_and_athlete_mums
Pat Radcliffe remarked: "None of us regards our role as a sacrifice – it is fun, a lot of fun."

Nathan Homer, P&G's Olympics Project Director, said: "For us it is about the people who supported [the athletes] every step of the way and recognising that behind every amazing Olympic and Paralympic athlete is an even more amazing mum.

"P&G has been there for mums for generations creating brands that have created small, but meaningful, differences to everyday life.

"It has given 97 per cent of its Olympic tickets to mums and families so they can go and experience the Games for themselves."

The conglomerate sponsors more than 150 of the world's best athletes who, between them, have collected 375 international medals.

Among them are 16-times Grand Slam tennis champion Roger Federer.

British comedienne and mother Dawn French (pictured above, with the mums) fronted the documentaries and hosted the screening.

"It is all about celebrating and recognising the sheer hard work of every mum who, let's face it, often get taken for granted," said French, the star of TV shows such as The Vicar of Dibley.

"We can all do with a few more thank-yous – in fact, I could do with some myself!

"The serious and fundamental truth about most mums is that we would do anything for our kids.

"For [these] mums their dedication and sacrifices, support and comfort they offer is nothing short of astounding."

The company's "Thank you, mum" campaign ensures that mothers have the chance to watch their sons or daughters compete in London this summer.

P&G's mothers campaign at the 2010 Olympic and Paralympics in Vancouver raised $100 million (£63 million/€76 million) through extra sales.

The company also promotes a British campaign, called "nearest & dearest", with the British Olympic Association.

It guarantees each athlete two tickets for their first event this summer, and through which P&G look after athletes' parents in the build up to the Games.

The campaign serves both as a recognition of the role parents play in the training of Olympic and Paralympic hopefuls, and ensures competitors are taken good care of during the Games.

P&G recently announced its sponsorship of 28 United States Olympic and Paralympic athletes, including 14-times gold medal-winning swimmer Michael Phelps, 100 metres hopeful Tyson Gay and Janet Evans, a quadruple Olympic gold medallist in the pool.

It also has a Team USA Youth Sports Fund through which it hopes to raise $500,000 (£314,000/€381,000) from the Games to help youngsters get into sport.

Contact the writer of this story at [email protected]

Related stories
April 2012: P&G announce sponsorship of 28 US Olympic and Paralympic hopes for London 2012
April 2012: Nathan Homer - The Games change the atmosphere of a place bringing energy and excitement
January 2012: P&G roll out "Thank You Mum" campaign worldwide
January 2012: P&G unveil new Gillette Olympic marketing campaign featuring elite athletes
January 2012: Pendleton, Ennis and Payne become P&G beauty ambassadors