The 2020 Olympics are just around the corner and more than a dozen athletes who are mothers are heading to Tokyo to compete in the Summer Games.
Among the superstar mothers going for the gold at this year’s Olympic Games include track and field athlete Allyson Felix, soccer player Alex Morgan and WNBA star Diana Taurasi.
Not only are they determined to slay at the Summer Games, they’re also rock stars when it comes to advocating for equal pay and maternal health for women athletes.
Here is a list of moms competing at this year’s games.
Tokyo will be Allyson Felix’s fifth Olympic Games. The six-time Olympic gold medalist is one of the most decorated track and field Olympians in history. This year, she’s heading to the Summer Games as a mom for the first time.
Felix has a 2-year-old daughter named Camryn. In June, after she qualified for the Tokyo Olympics in the U.S. Track & Field Olympic trials in Eugene, Oregon, the 35-year-old sprinter celebrated with her daughter, and track and field athlete Quanera Hayes and Hayes’ son, Demetrius.
“A lot of chaos,” Felix told ABC News earlier this month. Felix described the challenges of training amid a pandemic and balancing life at home with her daughter.
“I was doing a lot of training literally around my house,” she said. “So I was running in the streets in front of my home, I was in the gym in our garage, and you know my daughter is looking down from above. Without my support system, I wouldn’t be able to do this,” Felix said.
As a mom, Felix is making it her mission to support fellow mom athletes. In 2019, Felix left her former sponsor Nike to work with Athleta, whose clothes she wore in the 400-meter race in Oregon. Felix told “Good Morning America” last year that the company supports her not only as an athlete but also as a mom and activist.”
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For Hayes, a fellow track and field sprinter, she’s looking forward to her first Olympic Games while balancing being a parent to her 2-year-old son, Demetrius.
“I try to prioritize everything,” she told ABC News. “When I’m at practice, I’m at practice. But when I’m at home, I’m at home with him and I’m engaged with him.”
When Hayes’ son and Felix’s daughter met for the first time at the Olympic trials in Oregon, Hayes described the moment as “unreal.”
“To have them actually there, and to be able to experience that moment and watch their mothers, you know, make the Olympic team for the U.S., it was very unreal,” Hayes said. “We’re super mommies.”
Skylar Diggins-Smith is a WNBA player for the Phoenix Mercury team and will be making her Olympic debut in Tokyo this week.
After her son was born, she told The Dallas Morning News that she leaned on her fellow teammates who are also moms.
“It’s great to have so many women that you can talk to, there’s a lot of women on my team who are moms to talk to and kind of see how they’re balancing everything,” she said at the time. “There’s a lot of women around the league to reference who have children — it definitely brings a different perspective.”
Taurasi is also a member of the Phoenix Mercury team. Her wife, Penny Taylor, also a former Phoenix Mercury basketball player, as well as a former assistant coach for the team, gave birth to their son, Leo, in 2018.
Taurasi is chasing her fifth Olympic gold medal at this year’s Summer Games.
This is Sally Kipyego’s second Summer Olympic Games. She previously competed for Kenya in 2012 at the London Olympics and will be competing for the U.S. in Tokyo.
In 2017, the track and field runner welcomed her daughter, Emma. Kipyego spoke about motherhood as an athlete in September 2020 in an Instagram post for Nike Women.
“A Mother. I always wanted to be one but didn’t fully realize what it would mean. As an athlete, I was not sure how Motherhood would play a role in my running,” she wrote. “I quickly realized that being a Mom enhanced the great qualities that I already possessed. Being a Mother has made me a better Athlete and a better person.”
Long distance runner Aliphine Tuliamuk is competing in Tokyo just seven months after giving birth to her daughter Zoe.
When the pandemic first broke in 2020, Tuliamuk had just qualified for the U.S. team at the Olympic trials. But COVID-19 pushed her and her husband, Tim Gannon, to reassess their family planning timeline.
Baby Zoe is heading to Tokyo with Tuliamuk since she is still breastfeeding.
“The last 6 months with you baby Zoe have been the best ones of our lives,” Tuliamuk wrote on Instagram. “Your dad and I are so blessed to get to watch you grow and teach you everything we know about this world. And now we are beyond excited that you get to come to Japan and cheer on your mama as she goes after her biggest running goals …”
“What a relief it feels not to have to imagine my breastfeeding daughter being miles away from me,” she added.
The 2020 Tokyo Olympics will be Mariel Zagunis’ fifth Summer Games, but it’s her first as a mom.
Mariel, who holds four Olympic medals and five Senior World Championship titles, gave birth to her daughter, Sunday Noelle, in 2017. One year after welcoming her daughter with her husband, Mike Swehla, she gushed about pregnancy in an interview with USA Fencing saying, “I really enjoyed being pregnant.”
“I really enjoyed it for what it was and enjoyed every week that the baby was growing and I was growing,” she said.
She channeled her daughter and family as motivation for prepping for the Tokyo Olympic Games.
“Now I have new motivation,” she told USA Fencing in 2018. “Doing this for my daughter and trying to make that work … I’m really excited to go to my next Olympics with her to show that anything is possible.”
A veteran of the U.S. women’s national soccer team, Morgan is competing in her third Olympic games this summer, but it will be her first as a mom.
In May 2020, Morgan, who plays for Orlando Pride, welcomed her daughter Charlie with husband, Servando Carrasco.
Leading up to the Olympics, Morgan expressed her concern on social media about being able to bring her daughter to Tokyo. She pressured the IOC to clarify its stance on athletes bringing their children to the games.
Before heading to Tokyo, Morgan shared a sweet photo of her daughter.
“I’m going to miss my baby girl so much this month,” Morgan wrote. “Charlie girl, I’ll make it worth it!”
Gwen Berry is an American track and field athlete heading to the Summer Games. The hammer thrower is the mother of a teenage son named Derrick.
As an athlete and an outspoken social justice advocate, Berry has faced much criticism. During the track and field trials, she turned away from the American flag while the national anthem played. She was also placed on probation in 2019 for raising a fist during a medal ceremony during the Pan American Games.
She told Time Magazine that she wants to use her voice and her platform to protest “for America to be good for everybody.”
“I have been true to this for the last two years, maybe more,” said Berry. “I’ve always been a speaker for my community. Being a young teenage mother, I’ve always had to speak for my son and make sure my son was safe … I won’t shut up. And I will keep bringing acknowledgment and awareness to the things that are going on in other communities.”
This is Brittney Reese’s second Olympic Games as a mom. Before the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio, the track and field long jumper adopted her godson, Alex, when a friend could no longer care for him.
Last month, Reese expressed her excitement to be competing in Tokyo in an Instagram post.
“4x Olympian … Never in my wildest dreams I thought this was possible… I am extremely blessed and humbled to be able to compete at this level,” she said. “I’m not done yet we got more work to do!!!!”
Foluke Akinradewo Gunderson
This year’s Summer Games will be Foluke Akinradewo’s third time competing for the U.S. And like so many moms heading to Tokyo, it will be her first as a mom.
In 2019, the volleyball player shared a video on Instagram saying she was pregnant and going for her third Olympic Games. The post included clips of Gunderson training in the gym while pregnant and talking about her pregnancy journey. She said she found out she was pregnant during her volleyball season in Japan, right before a playoff match. She gave birth to a son that same year in November.
Two months ago, Akinradewo competed for the first time with Team USA and took to Instagram to reflect on all she’s accomplished up to that point.
“For the longest time, I dreamt of becoming a mom AND a professional athlete. I’m proud to say that I am now both,” she wrote. “Thank you to all the badass mothers who came before me and showed me that it was possible, and here’s to those who will follow in our footsteps.”
Tokyo will be Lora Webster’s fifth Paralympic Games. In 2016 at the Rio Games, the volleyball player and mother of three, helped Team USA bring home the U.S.’s first Paralympic sitting volleyball gold medal.
When not on the court, Team USA says Webster is a stay-at-home mom who juggles training, competing and motherhood.
Softball pitcher Cat Osterman came out of retirement in 2018 to train for Tokyo. She previously won gold at the Athens Games in 2004 and silver at the Beijing Games in 2008, which was the last time softball was part of the games.
In 2016, Osterman married Joey Ashley and became a stepmom to his daughter Bracken.
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