Working mother takes on a whole new meaning when the mother's job is to be an Olympian. "Mommy, will you be there for the first day of school?" "Sorry, honey, Mommy is going to be in Beijing setting a new world record for the 50 free. But I'll be thinking of you!" Despite the challenges, there are Olympians who can balance motherhood with being a world-class athlete.
Melanie Roach, a weightlifter, retired from her sport after suffering a back injury before the 2000 Olympic Trials. She had a family, and then returned to competition in 2005 after having three children. Softball pitcher Lisa Fernandez gave birth to her son Antonio in December, 2005. A coach for UCLA, she was kind enough to have her child during the off-season. Fernandez is not the only mom on the softball team; Jennie Finch and Stacy Nuveman also had children since winning the gold medal in 2004. One of Dara Torres' greatest feats is not just that she is an Olympian at 41, it's that she had a daughter just two years ago.
This is not to shortchange the dads, as there are plenty of Olympians who are fantastic fathers. However, the added discipline these moms have to return to top physical form after giving birth is amazing. Aretha Thurmond, a discus thrower, competed at the U.S. Outdoor National Championships in 2007 just 18 days after her son was born. Hopefully, her son will get to see Mommy wearing a special gold necklace when she returns from Beijing.
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