While we think every mom deserves a gold medal for making it through some of those tough parenting days, we salute the moms who are currently over in Rio trying to win an Olympic medal. Some of these elite athletes are making a comeback after having a baby (or three). Others are celebrating their first time at the games. Making time for ourselves can seem impossible, but these inspiring women demonstrate how to juggle being a super competitive athlete and being a parent. As for their kids? They don't have to look far to find a role model for determination, commitment, focus, and multitasking! Read on for ten moms whose summer "vacations" included a trip to Rio.
Image via Kristin Armstrong’s Instagram page
Kristin Armstrong (no relation to Lance) has had four Olympic appearances and three gold medals to show for it, but she’s especially proud of her role as mother to son Lucas, who will soon be six. Lucas often takes a prime spot on the podium next to mom, who came out of retirement (and recovery from several hip surgeries) for the Rio Olympics. On top of all that, Kristin is the director of community health at a hospital in Idaho.
Image via Youtube screenshot
Although setting a goal of competing in the Olympics might not be the first (or hundredth) thing you think of while enduring the sleepless nights with a newborn, the birth of Nina Ali’s son made her focused and committed to her training. Titus is 15 months-old now, and we’re certain Ali won’t have any trouble chasing around her little guy. For her part, Ali is hoping to set an inspiring example for her son as well as for other mothers.
Image via Dana Vollmer’s Instagram page
Leading up to Rio, Vollmer, a swimmer, had already won four gold medals at two previous Olympics. In 2016, she added another gold, bronze, and silver medal to her stash. Vollmer, who calls herself a “momma on a mission,” has a young son and is also a healthy body advocate and motivational speaker.
Image via Brittany Reese’s Instagram page
Long jumper Brittany Reese has a dawn to dusk schedule that many moms can relate to. What fills those hours, however, may differ a bit: Reese home schools her son in the morning, heads off to practice for herself, and then goes on to coach part-time at a community college. Reese is also known for her philanthropy, including several scholarships named in her honor.
Image via Kerri Walsh Jennings’ Instagram page
Kerri Walsh Jennings
Five Olympics, three gold medals (so far), and three children: not bad, Kerri Walsh Jennings. Walsh Jennings, a beach volleyball player, managed to fit in two back-to-back pregnancies after the Beijing Olympics and was in her first trimester with her third child during the London Olympics. She’s back with a new partner in Rio, but her legacy in the world of beach volleyball is already well-established.
Image via Kim Rhode’s Facebook page
Kim Rhode, a skeet shooter, has appeared at an impressive six Olympic games; at Rio, she earned a bronze medal. She’s the first woman to medal in all six and the first Olympian to medal on five different continents. Her son Carter, born in 2013, cheered mom on in the stands; Carter plans to try for a seventh games in 2020!
Image via Enkelejda Shehaj Bejurti’s Facebook page
Enkelejda Shehaj Bekurti
Enkelejda Shehaj Bekurti may not have medaled in her third Olympics (she competed twice for her native Albania in shooting before coming to the United States), but making it to the Olympics after a twenty year break is a feat all on its own. So was fleeing Albania for a more stable life for herself and her family and opening a restaurant in Florida, named Olympia Dining.
Image via Kelly Griffin’s Facebook page
Rugby player and team captain Kelly Griffin cites her family, including her wife and children, as a huge support, as well as being a positive force in her life. Although Griffin doesn’t necessarily have Olympic aspirations for her kids, they spend a lot of time being active together, and Griffin hopes they develops the same love of sports that she has.
Image via Wikipedia Commons
Chaunte Lowe’s days begin around 4:30 or 5 in the morning so she can fit in her high-jumping training before her three kids wake up. After getting her kids ready for school, she spends her day as a day trader. Lowe is also hoping to take classes in accounting so that she can help other athletes learn more about financial literacy. Rio marks her fourth Olympics!
Image via Gwen Berry’s Instagram page
As a hammer thrower, Gwen Berry likely didn’t experience the arm soreness some new parents do when they lug around their new babies. Rio was the first Olympics for Berry, who has a son named Derrick.
Lead image via Kristin Armstrong’s Instagram page