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Mommy Olympians

Judo Xian Dongmei is a “mommy” gold medalist, and she’s caused a sensation for it in China.

Xian is the first mother who’s captured a gold medal in China. She already had one gold medal under her belt for judo at the Athens 2004 Games. But then she got injured and decided to retire. In early 2007, she had a daughter.

She couldn’t stay away from the judo training center, and with the support of her husband, the 33-year-old decided to get back into judo. She won her second gold medal on Sunday (see photo for her proud moment).

When I saw the headlines on this, I began to wonder how many “mommy” Olympians are out there. What I found just on the U.S. Olympic squad surprised me. There are at least 20. Here’s a list provided by the U.S. Olympic Committee.

• Lisa Leslie is the mother of Lauren Jolie Lockwood, born June 15, 2007. A three-time Olympic gold medalist, three-time MVP of the WNBA, and the first woman ever to dunk in a professional basketball game, Lisa Leslie is considered one of the greatest players in the history of women’s basketball. 
• Tina Thompson is the mother of Dyllan, born May 2005. Tina is still playing in Russia (Dyllan is with her).  She is a 2004 gold medalist, 2002 World Championships gold medalist and won four WNBA titles with the Houston Comets.

• Show Jumper Laura Kraut has a son, Bobby.
• Eventer Gina Miles has two children, Taylor and Austin
• Dressage rider Debbie McDonald has a son, Ryan.

• Valerie Gotay began competing at the international level by the age of 14 and qualified for the U.S. Olympic Team in 1992 at the age of 18. After the Barcelona Games she retired from competition to pursue a degree in psychology at San Diego State University. In 1996 Valerie got married and gave birth to her first of two children.  Valerie decided to return to competition in 2004. 

• Brenda Shinn has one son, Kenneth Shinn, who was born January 16, 1987.

• Kate Markgraf, defender, Bloomfield Hills, Mich. (but she lives in Milwaukee, Wis.), one son Keegan, who is 21 months. 
• Christie Rampone, defender, Point Pleasant, N.J. (but she lives in Redondo Beach, Calif.), one daughter Rylie, who is almost three years old. 

• Stacey Nuveman, catcher, La Verne, Calif., has one son, Chase, who was born June 6, 2007.
• Jennie Finch, pitcher, La Mirada, Calif., has one son, Ace Shane Daigle, who was born in May 2006.

• Four-time Olympian Dara Torres has one daughter (Tessa) who was born in April 2006. Click here for a bio on Dara Torres.

• 2000 Olympic gold medalist Lindsay Davenport, Laguna Beach, Calif., has one son, Jagger Jonathan Leach, born June 10, 2007.

Track & Field
• 2008 Olympic Trials marathon runner-up Magdalena Lewy Boulet (son, 3).  She made the Olympic Team in the women’s marathon. An immigrant from Poland who was sworn in as a citizen on 9/11/01.
• 2005 World Championships silver medalist Chaunte Howard (child is almost 1)
• Aretha Thurmond: 3-time Olympian in the discus. Son Theo was born in June, 2007. She competed 18 days later at the 2007 Outdoor Championships.
• Tiffany Ross-Williams: Two-time USA champion in the 400m hurdles (’07 and ’08 Olympic Trials). Daughter Samya is roughly 3. (Born 2005 sometime.)
• Joanne Dow: Four-time USA outdoor champion (including ‘08 Olympic Trials Champion). has two children: Hannah (born 1989) and Timmy (born 1992).

• 2004 Olympian Robyn Ah Mow-Santos, Honolulu, Hawai'i, has one son, Jordan Nohili Ah Mow Santos, who was born on Feb. 2, 2003.

• Next time you think you have a busy life consider that of Melanie Roach for some perspective. She's the mother of three small children under the age of six, one of whom is autistic, owner/operator of a gymnastics training facility with over 500 students, wife of a fourth term incumbent Washington State House of Representatives legislator, Sunday school teacher and a U.S. Olympic Hopeful.


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James Blix

I teach college English in China, there are students in my class that look like they should be in early high school.

All the China bashing needs to stop.

What people know of China would fit in a thimble, what they think they know would fit in a barrel.

James Blix


I have to agree as it relates to those lil' girls. Yes, most gymnist are small and young. I noticed they looked so young and small before it was mentioned, so no surprise. I wonder if they will be around in a few years? I also question the developing breast for such a small child. They train from early babyhood, it seems China could produce age appropriate athletes.

Jim, thanks for all that research on Mom's.
To the Mom's, good for you, hell, I was prepared to join the armed services when I was over 50, not fashionable in those days.
So, you go MOM's, be Proud.

Marvin L Foushee

Interesting FP Blog note on the 11-15 year old Chinese athletes in the Olympics. It does definitely seem like the Boy Scouts of the CPC have fudged the birth certificates of some Chinese Olympic athletes. Party corruption! The Maoists love it when you honestly report it.

Bela Karolyi, the NBC sports analyst who was coach of some of the world's greatest gymnasts, including Mary Lou Retton and Nadia Comaneci, is incensed. He is convinced that China has included underage girls -- the age requirement is 16 -- on its women's gymnastics team by forging the girls' birth dates on official documents.

Yesterday, in reference to the Chinese gymnasts' childish body sizes (the team average is 4 feet, 9 inches, and 77 pounds), he unleased some verbal venom to the Associated Press:

They are using half-people. One of the biggest frustrations is, what arrogance. These people think we are stupid.

Gymnastics is famous for its small women -- or rather, girls -- but the Chinese gymnasts look awfully tiny and juvenile. In comparison, Japan's team average is 4 feet, 10 inches, and 83 pounds, while the Americans are an average of 5 feet and 107 pounds. Granted, size isn't always an indicator of age, but the New York Times recently pointed to other evidence of age falsification -- inconsistent reporting of some gymnasts' ages in official documents, media reports, and government Web sites.

The Chinese gymnasts certainly aren't half-people, but it sounds like the Chinese government might be telling some half-truths.


..... and she is a judo champ...

or... weight lifter...

or... crack shot....

Imagine the potential for spousal abuse!

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