We are used to hearing news on injuries and illnesses in Olympic athletes and how these might affect their ability to compete. However, Malaysian shooter Nur Suryani Mohaamed Taibi will be competing in the 2012 Summer Olympics with a different condition. Taibi will be competing in the 10m air rifle event while she is eight months pregnant and many are calling for her to drop out.
Now, Taibi is not the first athlete to compete in an Olympics while pregnant, though the list is not long. The most recent athlete was Canadian curler Kristie Moore who competed at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics as an alternate and was five and a half months pregnant. Diana Sartor from Germany placed fourth in the skeleton in 2006 and back in 1920, Swedish figure skater Magda Julin won a gold medal while pregnant.
While much of the focus on Taibi right now is the fact that she is pregnant, the more amazing fact is that she is the first Malaysian woman rifle shooter to qualify for the Olympics. She qualified for the Olympics at the Asian Shooting Championships in January. It was only a few days earlier that she learned she was pregnant. Talk about some amazing life-changing events happening all at the same time.
Now, many people, including members of Taibi's family are questioning her decision to compete while pregnant. She has received approval from her doctors and her husband is supporting her, so personally, I don't think anyone else has any say in the matter.
She is not a high risk pregnancy and being pregnant does not mean you should be sitting on the couch eating bon bons until the baby arrives. Just look at Amber Miller. She was the woman who ran the Chicago Marathon while 39 weeks pregnant and delivered a healthy baby girl not long after the end of the race. And it was not her first marathon while pregnant.
While pregnancy does have some limitations (Taibi will not be competing in the 50m competition that she also qualified for because she cannot do a prone position with her baby belly in the way), most doctors encourage staying physically active.
While I have never considered myself a fan of the shooting competitions in the Olympics, I will say I will be watching to see how Taibi does. As a mother of four, I know what it is like to be pregnant and I admire her for following her dream and taking her baby with her on the journey.
Deborah Braconnier is a former athlete and avid sports and Olympics fan. She now works as a freelance writer and Featured Contributor for the Olympics and NFL and brings her love of sports to her writing. As a former medical professional, she promotes nutrition and fitness for everyone. Follow her on Twitter @fwcdeborah and @healthykidsgrow.