Getting your body back into shape after having a baby (or two) is difficult.
Getting your body back into Olympic-qualifying shape after having a baby (or two) must be almost impossible.
Which is why, out of 216 total athletes on the U.S. 2010 Olympic roster, only 6 are Moms. That’s only 2.8% of the total roster. (Only 17 are Dads, by the way.)
One of these Moms slides face-first down a luge track on a sled with no brakes or steering at speeds of up to 80 miles per hour. Another twists and turns between gates on skis, moving at 25 MPH. All of them are in top form and hoping to win a medal for the U.S. So, ladies, please join me in cheering on these 6 Mom Olympians as they strive for Olympic medals in Vancouver — several with hubbies and babies waiting on the sidelines.
will be Schleper’s 4th Olympics. Her career best Olympics was 10th place in slalom in Torino in 2006. She took two full competitive seasons off (March 2006 – Oct 2008) due to a knee injury and then giving birth to her son, Lasse, in January 2008. She didn’t take much of a break from ski training, however, and reportedly skied until 8.5 months pregnant and then came back 40 days postpartum. (OUCH!) And it’s not just in corporate when maternity leave can be the great career de-railer: because of her hiatus from competition, she was demoted to the U.S. B-team. Sponsorships and funding have been hard to find since, and she’s been making ends meet selling off ski equipment on ebay. You can read an interview of Schleper talking about her comeback to skiing after having her son as well as her full bio on NBCOlympics.com.
This will be Noelle’s first and last Olympics. A freak accident where she was hit by a speeding bobsled at the end of a training run kept her out of the 2006 Torino Olympics, despite coming off a season where her competitive results were the better than any American woman in history. In the 2007 season, before she took off to have her daughter (Lacee, born Jan 2008), she won Gold at the World Championships. She is currently 8th in the World Cup standings heading into Vancouver. She has already announced her retirement following these Olympics because of the stresses of being on the competitive tour while being a Mom who also wants more kids. She’s the youngest of eight children, so she knows a thing or two about big families! You can see a short video on Noelle’s thoughts on being a Mom as well as Pikus-Pace’s full bioon NBCOlympics.com.
Potter, a Mom of 2, is heading into her 4th Olympics and already has an Olympic Gold (1998 – Nagano), Silver (2002 – Salt Lake City), and Bronze (2006 – Torino). She is such a veteran that several of her Olympic teammates have even attended the hockey school she operates with her husband in Edina, Minnesota. She was the U.S. team’s leading scorer in Torino, and barely missed a competitive beat after becoming a mother to her second child, Cullen, in January ’07: 3 months after giving birth, she helped lead the U.S. Team to a Silver in the World Championships. Her daughter Madison (born in January ’01) has cheered for Mom at the 2002 and 2006 Olympics, and this year the whole family will be on the sidelines rooting for Mom and her teammates who are expected to go up against Canada for Olympic Gold. See Potter’s full bio on NBCOlympics.com.
The U.S. Curling Team Moms
To say curling is a family affair is an understatement. Not only do all the curlers on the U.S. team come from “curling families”, but 3 mothers make up the 5-person U.S. Women’s Curling team: Natalie Nicholson (far left in pic), Allison Pottinger (second left), and Tracy Sachtjen (far right). Still not convinced? Well, try this: the team’s coach, Wally Henry, is also the father of the Skip (or team Captain), Debbie McCormick, who will be in her third Olympics. With curling only recently being inducted as an official Olympic sport (its first games were also Debbie’s first in Nagano in 1998), there are no long Olympic histories of winning countries. The Americans are among the contenders for Gold, along with Sweden, Switzerland, Denmark, China, and Canada. You can get more information about the entire team on their website: http://www.teammccormick.net/. Besides Debbie and the Moms (profiled below), Nicole Joraanstad rounds out the “rink” (or team). Here’s the scoop on the three Moms competing in Vancouver for the U.S.:
A mom of two daughters (Lauren, Oct ’06 and Kelsey, Aug ’08), Allison also holds a full-time job as a marketing research analyst at General Mills. She has been curling for many years, starting with her family when she was young. She missed going to the 2006 Olympics by a few inches, literally – one shot came up short – on the same team with Debbie McCormick. She is the Vice-Skip for the U.S. Team.
One of the newer Olympian Moms (Daughter Stella, Aug ’08), Nicholson has been curling since she was a young girl who hung out at a friend’s uncle’s curling rink in the evenings for fun (she even took it as a class in school!). She was a member of the team that was favored to win the 2006 Olympic trials to get a chance for Olympic gold in Torino, but finished third place in that event. See Nicholson’s full bio on NBCOlympics.org.
This Mom of a teenager and a middle schooler (Daughter Sierra, Dec ’93 and Son Desmon, Aug ’00) is also officially the oldest U.S. female athlete – at a not-so-old 40 years. She is playing 5th position for Team USA. You can read her blog on USA Today’s Hack Chat, where she’s documenting the Olympic experience. See Sachtjen’s full bio on USACurl.org.
I know I will be cheering for these ladies when they take to the slopes/ice/track/rink to represent the U.S. in the Vancouver 2010 Olympics. To see when they’ll be competing in your specific area, go to the official NBC Olympics homepage: http://www.NBCOlympics.com and click the TV schedule information button.
Photos from Getty Images, NBCOlympics.com, and TeamUSA.org.
Rebekah Cooksey is the Founder of MomsOutLoud.com. She is a Plano Mom with three kids, ages 4, 2, and 9 months. She is proud of her ability to jog on the treadmill at 5.5 MPH for 25 minutes, and promises to never ever go head-first down a luge track at 80 MPH – even WITH a helmet. You can reach her at email@example.com.