What does it take to become an Olympian and be at the top of your sport in the world? Most will tell you that it takes hours and hours of daily training to start, with many years of endurance. Not to mention the countless competitions sprinkled throughout that time to test your commitment. That’s it, testing of your commitment. What if, you want that plus a family? For a female Olympian, some might view it as an added time constraint. However, upon looking closer, that family unit actually becomes a built-in support system. Here is a highlight of a few Olympians who see motherhood as an added benefit, not an added burden.
Kerri Walsh Jennings
“Just because you’re a mommy with kids doesn’t mean you can’t chase big dreams,” said Walsh Jennings, in pursuit of her fourth Olympic gold medal, with her husband and children ages 3 through 7 at her side. “I’m not doing this to be Super Mom. I’m doing this to be super me, the best I can be.”
“People have asked me, over and over: ‘Why? Why am I back?’ And it’s because I can,” Armstrong said after winning the Olympic time trial by more than five seconds.
“There’s nothing better than being called mom. It makes for trying to win ball games to trying to win the day and keeping them happy at home, but it’s the best thing every,” Finch said. “There’s nothing greater than just the love that you never even knew existed once you have kids.”
“The hardest part about being a mom is the balancing act,” says Parker. “It really is a full-time job, but my mom helps out during the season, you know, when you want to get your pre-game nap in.”
She has noted on numerous occasions that her daughter Tessa is her biggest motivation. She comments on how she has felt “old” through her years of being an athlete, “but when I was 41 and I woke up in a dorm in the Olympic Village in Beijing, I didn’t feel old. I felt merely – and, yes, happily – middle-aged.” That could be a testament of motherhood and how it makes you feel alive.
As we celebrate all of the 2016 Olympians, we toss our hats off to those who not only excelled at the sport of their strength, but they have also gained strength through the sport of motherhood.