Episode 6 – Making a splash!
The Godfather (a.k.a. Mark Felstead) speaks to Jacquie Hughes who, for a couple of glorious Olympic weeks in July, was probably the most famous mother in the UK thanks to a viral video.
Jacquie Hughes is a mother of five and the video of her and her family cheering on son Tom Dean to his first Olympic swimming gold medal in Tokyo (200m freestyle) went viral and has now over 20m views.
Jacquie talks to our BAB host Mark about the chaos and joy of the moment of Tom’s success and the back story that led up to her new-found, but immensely deserved, media fame.
Listen too to the end as the man himself, Tom Dean, also makes a little cameo appearance to speak about his mother.
Jacquie is no stranger to media and TV, having already a great track record herself as TV producer and journalist, although nothing could quite prepare her (and Tom) for the media storm around Tom’s sensational performances in Tokyo.
Imagine her frustration after years of devotion and dedication to Tom and his siblings (all accomplished athletes) – getting up early every day, attending competitions the length and breadth of the country – and then, when it comes to the BIG ONE, not being allowed to be there to cheer him on in person, due to the Covid situation.
But Jacquie decided she could not just let the moment of the main event go by and, also to have something to show Tom on his return, she did her best to re-create the poolside arena atmosphere with an event for friends and neighbours in her own back garden in Maidenhead near London. There was some careful event planning behind the Watch Party, but no-one could have imagined how it would turn out.
The images of Jacquie with her family and friends celebrating Tom’s win not only went viral, they were used by the BBC as one of the defining images of the games, at least on British TV, and they were even shown as part of the closing ceremony in Tokyo.
Jacquie took hosting virtual events to the next level and says: “Events are the bringing together of people for a common cause, and alongside all the technology, it is the human story that people want to see and experience.”
What made it so moving of course, was its authenticity – the images were captured on a smartphone camera, and it was more than enough to capture a natural reaction that struck a chord with millions.
And for the future…
Jacquie has been asked so many times about how she raised her son to be an Olympic champion and what were the elements that went into his success, that she hopes very soon to publish her own podcast to share with parents the nuggets of knowledge and experience. Such wisdom is especially relevant in these times of post-lockdown lethargy and will, no doubt, help parents motivate their children and to get them involved in sport.
“Swimming is such an enrichment to your upbringing, even if you don’t harbour thoughts of raising an Olympic athlete,” Jacquie shares.
So, you heard it here first. Jacquie will launch very soon her own podcast called ‘Raising Gold!’: The story behind raising an Olympic double gold medalist and how she can help others raise their children to a Gold Standard.
The stars may well be aligning for Jacquie and Tom to be making a guest appearance at the International Confex industry show in Excel, London, which runs 1-2 September. So , those of you that are UK-based, we hope to see you there!
Main photo: Tom Dean and Mark Felstead. Inset, Tom and his mother Jacquie.