The Denslow family — parents Renee and Erik; and children Maya, 16, Anna, 13, and Eli, 11 — are all leaving today for London to watch Jordyn Wieber compete in the gymnastics competition. Wieber is Renee and Erik Denslow’s niece, and cousin of the three children.
“I’ve always been a huge fan of the Olympics,” Renee said. “To have our own sweet little niece involved, it is unreal.”
Maya said she is thrilled to be able to see her cousin compete on the world stage.
"I couldn't be more proud of Jordyn for making it to the Olympics,” she said. “It's all starting to hit me that this is real and she is the best of the best.”
Anna said she is also excited about seeing her cousin compete in the Olympics.
"It is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to go to the Olympics, and it is amazing that our cousin is in them," she said.
Wieber, 17, is reigning women's world champion and a two-time U.S. gold medalist. She is from DeWitt.
In addition to cheering on her cousin, Maya said she was looking forward to visiting London.
“Going to London will be a trip of a lifetime and I can't wait," she said.
The Denslow family will be overseas for two weeks — first visiting London for the games and then taking a trip to Paris.
“We figure we’re Chevy Chase coming out of Spring Lake,” Renee said, referencing the “National Lampoon’s European Vacation” movie. “We’re looking at it as a once-in-a-lifetime thing. This isn’t the normal Denslow family vacation.”
Renee noted that she had been planning the trip six months ago in advance of Wieber’s Olympic bid, and learned at the end of June that the family would officially be going once Wieber was placed on the team.
“For the last 6-7 years, we knew that this was the goal,” Renee said. “I am overcome with joy. I’m so proud of her and she is such an inspiration.”
Renee said this year’s U.S. women’s gymnastics team is considered to be one of the favorites to win gold.
“I’ve never wanted someone to reach a goal as much as her,” Renee said of Wieber. “She definitely has the talent, and now she needs a great day.”
The community has been getting behind the local Olympian connection, too. During the Olympic trials, the Denslows hosted a watch party in their backyard with a big-screen TV. More than 200 people showed up, Renee said.
“I think it has made the community more excited about watching the games this year,” Renee said.
The family is wasting no time once they get to London.
“Maybe you’ll see us on TV,” Renee said. “We’ll be watching our first event, the team trials, on Sunday.”