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.