The whole world now knows that the number one ranked tennis player is pregnant. We also know that she won the 2017 Australian Open when she was just weeks into her pregnancy. But how many know that Serena Williams is just one of many American athletes who competed while expecting? We took a look at some who did not let pregnancy keep them from reaching their goal and fulfilling their dream. Here’s what we found:
-The ice hockey player, Lisa Brown-Miller, competed while unknowingly pregnant with her first child in 1998. This was the first year that women’s hockey became an Olympic sport, and Brown-Miller’s team killed it: They won the gold!
–Kim Rhode, an American shooter, competed in the London Olympics in 2012 while unknowingly pregnant. It wasn’t until, more than a month later, as she listened to friends describe symptoms of their own pregnancies, that she put two and two together. Rhode earned Olympic medals in the 1996, 2000, 2004, 2008, and 2012 Games.
–Kerri Walsh Jennings, America’s star beach volleyball player, who competed in 2012 London Games while unknowingly five-weeks pregnant, won her third gold medal that year!
–DeAnne Hemmens canoed for the U.S. Olympic team in the 1996 Games in Atlanta while she was two-months pregnant.
–Keli Smith-Puzo is a two-time Olympian field hockey player who isn’t afraid to combine motherhood and athletic training. She had two kids before competing in the 2008 Olympics and in 2011, she competed in the Four Nations tournament while three months pregnant.
-Five-time national track & field champion Alysia Montano completed an 800-meter race while almost eight months pregnant.
-Champion surfer and arm amputee, Bethany Hamilton did not let her pregnancy keep her from competing.
Serena has indicated that she plans to rejoin the WTA tour in 2018 with her baby in tow. If so, she will join tennis champions Kim Clijsters, who won three Grand Slam singles after giving birth to her daughter, and Evonne Goolagong, who discovered that she was pregnant while competing in the 1976 U.S. Open. And after giving birth, she competed in the 1978 Wimbledon Championships and played a full tour in 1979.
It is no secret that women athletes never cease to amaze us with their ability to not only continue to compete at an elite level after becoming mothers, but they do so at an almost super-human level. A case in point is Dara Torres who, in 2007 at the age of 40 and just 16 months after giving birth to her first child, won the 100-meter freestyle at the U.S. Nationals. She went on to win three silver medals in the 2008 Summer Olympics.
If Serena has been an unbeatable force up to now, there’s no predicting how incredible she’ll be after she becomes a mom!