Mother and daugther could make Olympics together in rare sport

Cameron Smith

It's safe to say that all families bond in different ways. Yet, of all the unique familial pastimes out there, few can compete with the daily routine of the Moscoso family in Orlando.

As chronicled by the Orlando Sentinel, the Moscosos are a family of champion racewalkers. Maite, a 16-year-old Lake Brantley (Fla.) High junior, has competed for the United States twice at international events, finishing second at the 2010 U.S. vs. Canada meet. Her fifth-grade brother, 9-year-old Juan, won the Junior Olympics title in 2010.

And the pair of budding stars have a mother who is equally accomplished. Despite competing in racewalking for just eight months, the elder Maite Moscoso has qualified to compete in the U.S. Olympic Trials for a bid to the 2012 London Olympics. One of her competitors for an Olympic spot will be her daughter.

"There is a real possibility that Maite could join her mother at the Olympic trials," Don DeNoon, the family's coach, a national record-holder in racewalking, told the Sentinel. "The interesting part is, although the father has less time to train because he is working all the time, I think he could make the Olympic trials in the 50K if he had the time to train.

"And little Juan has so much more talent than anyone else. If he sticks with it, he will be a world-class walker."

Interestingly, the Moscosos inverted the traditional lineage that infuses passion for a particular sport in a family; rather than father Juan and mother Maite encouraging their same-named children to take up racewalking, it was the younger Maite who started in the sport, with her father soon joining her to provide company on training walks.

"I was running for Team Track Shack and was a decent runner, but I didn't like to racewalk because it was so hard. Eventually, though, instead of sitting around watching, I decided to compete," the younger Maite Moscoso told the Sentinel.

"We asked Juan if he wanted to do it, and he just took right to it. I guess he had been watching it for so long, he knew how to do it."

To say that the Moscosos have learned racewalking is an intense sport is an understatement. The younger Maite Moscoso is also the captain of the Lake Brantley cross country team, yet still focuses a majority of her time and effort on her racewalking training.

While her walking times may not be as fast as her running times, they're not far off; at a recent 10 kilometer race, the younger Maite finished the course with a time of 52:45, an average pace of 8:30 per mile.

Yet, at the end of the day, the familial patriarch said the Moscosos' racewalking passion was really rooted in one dominant drive: Spending time together as a family.

"We all have our goals for what we want to do and where we want to compete," the elder Juan Moscoso said. "The ultimate goal, of course, is to qualify for the trials and the Olympics, but really this is just something fun for our family to do together."

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