A lot changes once you have children, but this year’s Olympics prove that you don’t have to stop being a world-class athlete just because you’re a mom.
Of the 207 women competing in Vancouver, 15 are mothers. They represent their nations in sports as diverse as hockey and skiing, but the most – 5 – compete in curling, a kind of shuffleboard on ice. The other two most popular mom-events are biathlon (where you cross-country ski and shoot targets with a rifle) and skeleton (like luge but face-first!).
There’s even one pregnant woman competing in the games, thirty-year-old Kristie Moore of Canada. Though she’s already well into her second trimester, Moore is trying to win a medal in – you guessed it – curling. – Lynne Walsh
Talk about a “hockey mom”! Jenny Potter has it all: three Olympic medals and two adorable children. And apparently she’s quite adept at balancing both parts of her life since, in 2007, only three months after giving birth to her son, Cullen, she helped her World Cup team capture the silver medal. She says she started skating at two years old and grew up playing football before switching to the boys hockey league in high school.
Alpine Skiing, U.S.A.
BThis is Sarah’s fourth appearance in the Olympics, and she clearly hasn’t let being a mom get in the way. In fact, she was still on the slopes in early 2008 while eight and a half months pregnant with her son, Lasse. And only 40 days after he was born, she was back on skis.
Anna Carin Olofsson Zidek
Not only did Anna Zidek ski to her wedding atop a mile-high ski lodge, but she was eight months pregnant at the time! There is rarely a time when she is not training with her rifle at ready, and she has even found a way to keep her child involved: she tows her son, Liam, behind her on a small, enclosed sled.
racy is the oldest female Olympian and has two teenaged kids: Sierra, born in 1993, and Desmond, born in 2000. She comes from a family of curlers; her father was actually off competing when she was born. You can follow her Olympic blog here.
Cross-Country Skiing, Canada
Canada’s Sara Renner won a silver medal in the 2006 Torino Games and is a favorite to medal again this year. She tied the knot – on skis! – to four-time Olympian and fellow medalist Thomas Grandi in 2003. Their daughter, Aria, was born in 2007.
In 2006, Noelle suffered a freak accident with a bobsled that kept her out of the Torino Olympics, but she’s come to Vancouver with a vengeance. The youngest of eight, Noelle has said she wants a large family as well. In January of 2008, she got started, giving birth to her daughter, Lacee Lynne.
Skeleton, Great Britain
Shelley Rudman had her daughter, Ella Marie, in 2007 with her boyfriend, Kristan Bromley – also an Olympic skeleton champion. Rudman says she took about 18 months off from training during and after her pregnancy but then won two World Cup events in the winter ’08-’09 season.
Olga Medvedtseva has one teenaged daughter, Darya, and a three-year-old son, Arseniy. She began her Olympic career cross-country skiing, but in the mid-nineties, world biathlon champion Olga Romasho advised her to try the biathlon. Medvedtseva borrowed Romasho’s rifle and started winning Biathlon events.
Cross-Country Skiing, Estonia
In the 1994 Lillehammer Games, Kristina Smigun-Vaehi – at age 16! – made her first Olympic appearance for her home country, Estonia. She retired after the ’06-’07 World Cup season and moved to Florida where she met her husband, married, and gave birth to her daughter, Victoria-Kris, in June of 2008. In the spring of 2009, she decided to make a comeback, and Tuesday she won the silver medal in 10k Cross-Country.
Freestyle Skiing, France
Ophelie is currently favored to win a gold medal in Vancouver. She was born in Hungary but now skis for France. She has a 9-year-old daughter, Lilou.
Maya Pedersen married another skeleton racer, Snorre Pedersen, who is now her coach. They have two children, Miriam, born in 2004, and Sigrid, born 2008.
America’s Allison Pottinger seems to have the double agent gig down, being a mother of two (Lauren, 3 and Kelsey, 1) and Marketing Research Analyst at General Mills by day and a curling champ by night.
Freestyle Skiing, France
Natalie stumbled into the game of curling at a young age but kept up with it while working as a nurse practitioner and starting a family. She gave birth to a daughter, Stella, in August of 2008.
Eva Lund is a mother of two (son, Adam and daughter, Anna) who works as a project manager when not at the curling rink.
Curling – Great Britain
Has a daughter, Kirsty, and a son, Scott. She too comes from a family of curlers and even met her husband curling.