Nightly News   |  December 28, 2013

Sochi hopefuls coached by Olympian mom set sights on gold

Nancy Swider-Peltz, Team USA speed skating star of the 1988 Calgary Games, is hoping to coach both her daughter, Nancy Swider-Peltz Jr., and son, Jeffrey Swider-Peltz, at the Winter Olympics in Sochi. NBC’s Lester Holt has more.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> just 40 days now from the start of the 2014 winter olympics in russia. and u.s. speed skaters around the ice in utah this weekend to determine who will make the team. among them a brother and sister from the chicago area who are hoping to keep a family tradition alive. i caught up with them recently at their practice in milwaukee.

>> we live, eat, breathe, do everything skating.

>> reporter: like most olympic hopefuls, nancy sweeter pelts jr. and her brother jeffrey compete in relative obscurity until the olympics come around.

>> as hard as it is, it is worth it, the dedication.

>> reporter: nancy raced in the 2010 games in vancouver. younger brother jeffrey , who gave up college football to commit to skating full-time, is taking his first shot, both trying to make the team heading to sochi.

>> all i need is a good race and i can make the team.

>> timing is right.

>> reporter: their coach is the first u.s. woman to compete in four olympic games . a holder of two world records . she is also their mom.

>> when they were old enough to be on skates i put them on skates. never with the intent that, oh my gosh, does he look like he has talent? should i push them in this?

>> reporter: but they were upon to be athletes. dad is a football coach at wheaten college in illinois where another brother plays as well.

>> somebody's always got a practice.

>> somebody's always doing something.

>> reporter: this brother and sister go by the name team spider pelts. they will rise or fall on their own in the u.s. olympic trials going on right now. it's where all the sacrifice comes to bear.

>> it's the same amongst speed skaters what the heck am i doing? why am i doing this sport?

>> did you ever tell them how hard this is?

>> you know, i didn't. i tell you what, i wonder if that would have been a discouragement.

>> reporter: the coach in nancy senior trains them to win. the mom in her trains them in life.

>> i think if you do the very best that you can and your goals are set, whatever happens, it has made you who you are.

>> what is it like having your mom coach you?

>> my mom, you look back on history, she has given a lot of other people just an amount of time in the training as she has given to me. and that just goes to show how selfless she is.

>> reporter: between mom and daughter, a combined five olympics. and now with jeffrey on skates, a chance to expand the legacy.

>> i think i'm considered a long shot. but i've got the best coach in the world.

>> perfect position. it's the road getting there that has really been more of the accomplishment, more of the reward. it's the memories along the way that have really i think shaped us.

>> they'll know by early next week if one or both of them will be headed to so much chee. nbc's coverage of the winter olympics begins less than six weeks from now on february 6th .