5 Winter Olympians & Paralympians Who Are Mothers Competing In PyeongChang 2018

Ad failed to load

Being an Olympian and a mother is a very rare combination; the entire U.S. team sent to Rio in 2016 had 554 athletes, but only 10 of them were mothers, according to the official Team USA site. And the pool of athlete moms for PyeongChang's Winter 2018 Olympics (starting Feb. 8) and Paralympics (starting Mar. 8) is even smaller, mostly because the teams sent are much smaller than the ones that compete in Summer Olympics and Paralympics. Some of the most famous mothers from previous winter Olympics and Paralympics have also retired; the "fastest mom on skis," American skeleton racer Noelle Pikus-Pace, bowed out after Sochi, and head of Canada's champion curling team, Jennifer Jones, who gave birth to a daughter in 2012, will not be heading to PyeongChang. But there will still be a small number of women fighting for gold — with their kids cheering them on.

Being a mother and an elite athlete is no small feat. Many women at elite levels are expected to retire once they have children, both because of expectations that they'll be taking on childcare and because of the health difficulties of childbirth; Serena Williams, who recently had to drop out of contention for the Australian Open because of extended recovery from the birth of her first child Alexis Olympia in 2017, is an example. Williams, however, is training to be number one in tennis again, and these five moms headed to PyeongChang are further proof that moms can, indeed, do anything.

Ad failed to load

1Kikkan Randall

Ezra Shaw/Getty Images Sport/Getty Images

Kikkan Randall is thought to be the only mother competing on the 2018 Winter Olympic team for the U.S., and she's a big deal; this will be her fifth Olympics as a competitor in cross-country skiing, one of only a small handful of athletes to reach that number, and she's won the World Cup in her sport three times. Randall gave birth to a son in 2016 and has been a vocal advocate ever since for better conditions at elite athletic events for mothers, including daycares and breastfeeding rooms. Whether PyeongChang lives up to her expectations will be interesting to see.

2Sarah Schleper

Christophe Pallot/Agence Zoom/Getty Images Sport/Getty Images

After first qualifying to compete for the U.S. in the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver, Schleper is now entering as one of three athletes competing under the Mexican flag at the Winter Olympics at PyeongChang, on the back of a largely self-funded training and travel campaign. Schleper, who has a son with her husband, who is from Mexico, is an alpine skier whose journey to get to South Korea represents a lot of hardscrabble work.

3Danelle Umstead

Ron Jenkins/Getty Images Sport/Getty Images

The phenomenal skill involved in being a U.S. Paralympian is one thing, but Danelle Umstead is a legend in her own right for her dominance of her Paralympic sport, para alpine skiing. Umstead, who has been blind since the age of 13 and is guided by her husband Rob as a team known as Vision4Gold, has been near the top of the world tables multiple times, and their partnership has won three bronze Paralympic medals. They also have a son together. NBC labelled her one of the athletes to watch at PyeongChang in March.

Ad failed to load

4Marie Martinod

Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images Sport/Getty Images

Marie Martinod is a French freestyle half-pipe skier whose path to PyeongChang has been slightly unconventional. After quitting skiing at 22 to start a family in France, she entered the sport again in 2011 after a five-year hiatus when half-pipe skiing became an official Olympic event. She earned a silver at Sochi, and is now going into PyeongChang's Winter Olympics as the favorite for gold in her event, after winning the X Games in 2017.

5Marit Bjoergen

Giovanni Auletta/Agence Zoom/Getty Images Sport/Getty Images

Norwegian skiier Marit Bjoergen should be on your radar not just for the fact that she welcomed a baby boy in 2015, but because she may come out of PyeongChang in 2018 as the most successful female Winter Olympian of all time. Bjoergen has utterly dominated her sport, cross-country skiing, for decades, and currently holds the equal record for most medals won by a female Winter Olympian with 10 (and three golds alone at Sochi). If she medals at Pyeongchang, she'll blast past that — and may even beat the record for most Winter Olympic medals of all time, which is currently held by fellow Norwegian Ole Einar Bjoerndalen, at 13. Bjoergen, though, isn't taking any chances; she revealed in an interview in early 2018 that she's rearranging her childcare before February to make sure that she doesn't catch any illnesses from other kids in daycare.

Focusing on the private lives of female athletes is arguably not as exciting as their amazing athletic accomplishments, but considering the societal pressures created by motherhood, the exceptional achievements of every woman who's given birth to a child and competed in Olympics ought to be enough to make you burst with pride.

Ad failed to load
Must Reads

These Are The Beauty Products That Came Out In May That You DEFINITELY Need On Your Radar

For beauty lovers, months aren't just months: They're 28 to 31 day periods, wherein any and all product and brand launches can happen — and when they do, it feels like your birthday, no matter what time of the year you were actually born. The May 201…
By Amanda Richards

Everything Leaving & Coming To Netflix In June To Help Get Your Summer Started

Summer is right around the corner, and so is another batch of streaming options to get excited about. On Wednesday, everything leaving and coming to Netflix in June 2018 was announced by the streaming platform. And don't worry, there's something for …
By Jamie Primeau

The 5 Rom-Coms You Need To Read This Summer, According To Someone Who Writes Them

'Tis the season for rom-coms. The weather is warm, the sun is shining, and everyone is rocking the flirtiest items in their wardrobe. I don't know about you, but summer always takes me back to my teenage years — and that automatically makes me want t…
By Cristina Arreola

11 Tiny Sunglasses That Will Make You Look Even Cooler Than Kylie Jenner

You know what they say — the tinier the sunglasses, the more stylish the outfit. OK, that's not really a saying, but it seems to be the case these days. Basically every celebrity, model, and It person has been spotted sporting tiny sunglasses as part…
By Sara Tan

9 Ways This Royal Wedding Was Way More Modern Than Past Ones

The newly named Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, made history with their storybook courtship and wedding. What's more, there are myriad ways the royal wedding 2018 was more modern than previous royal weddings. From deciding…
By Brandi Neal

10 Little-Known British Traditions Meghan Markle Will Learn When She Marries Prince Harry

As an American woman dating a Brit, I am no stranger to the mishaps that can result from the cultural differences between the U.S. and England. And while I'm sure Meghan Markle has a slew of royal traditions to learn, titles to remember, and fancy ha…
By Kristin Magaldi

I've Paid $18,000 To A $24,000 Student Loan, & I Still Owe $24,000

It all became real the summer before my senior year of college. It was 2010, and my home phone still had a cord, which I wrapped around my fingers as I waited not-so-patiently for the apathetic representative on the other end to tell me the bad news …
By Kaitlyn Cawley

12 Personality Quizzes That Will Help You Determine Your Exact Strengths

Learning more about yourself can be tough. It's so easy to observe others to learn what makes them tick, what areas they really excel in, and the things they could be better at. Doing that to yourself, however, is a whole different story. That's exac…
By Jessica Booth

5 Brand New Short Story Collections You Can Finish In One Sitting This Weekend

Since 2013, May has been known by book-lovers by another name: Short Story Month. If you're ready to kick off this year's celebration the right way, make sure to pick up a short story collection to read over the weekend. Modern life moves more than …
By Sadie Trombetta

I Got Styled By 'Queer Eye's Tan France & Realized I Still Have A Lot Of Fashion "Rules" To Unlearn

When I walked into a New York City Express store on May 2 to get styled by Queer Eye's Tan France, I was ready for anything. And I mean truly anything. I am such a massive fan of the show and Tan that if he had instructed me to wrap myself in tin foi…
By Olivia Muenter

It Isn’t Bad To Have A “Princess Fantasy” — Mine Made Me The Woman I Am Today

What do you want to be when you grow up? If you were anything like me as a kid, at some point, the answer to that question was "a princess." Thanks to good old-fashioned gender stereotypes, most little girls born in the '90s (and even now) grew up in…
By Nicole Pomarico

Here’s How To Get A FREE 30-Minute Facial At Sephora That Sucks Your Pores Clean

Sephora has long been a mecca for both serious and amateur beauty lovers alike, where they not only have makeup artists that help answer questions about products, but free samples to let you play with new collections. But now they have upped the ante…
By Marlen Komar

Kris Jenner Is FINALLY Launching A Makeup Line With Kylie

Maybe you don't have a favorite sister of the Kar-Jenner clan, and that's perfectly fine. The one thing you can't deny, though, is that when it comes power, no one in that family has more than the world famous momager. Now, Kris Jenner x Kylie Cosmet…
By Shea Simmons

This Kendall Jenner “Diva” Moment Is Really Being Taken Out Of Context

The fashion always takes center stage at the Met Gala, but there's usually a little drama, too. And this time, a member of the Kardashian-Jenner family is involved. People are buzzing about how Kendall Jenner shoved someone at the Met Gala, but after…
By Nicole Pomarico

Feel Like You've Seen Everything On Netflix? Add These Movies To Your Watch List

The weekend may feel too far away, but if you're lacking formal plans, a Netflix marathon session is always a good idea. If you're an avid viewer, however, you probably feel like you've seen everything the streaming platform has to offer already. In …
By Ashley Rey

Hillary Clinton Says She's Ready To Fight Like A Republican — EXCLUSIVE

Hillary Clinton Is Not Going Away Quietly. Can Hillary Clinton Please Go Quietly Into The Night? Unlike Losers Before Her, Clinton Is Not Going Gently Into the Night. These headlines, which appeared in various news outlets over the course of the last…
By Catherine Thompson and Jenny Hollander

Here's The Very Best Time To Book Your Summer Vacation If You're Trying To Save Money

Summer is a great time to travel, for obvious reasons. The weather is better. Many offices are more lax about time off. If you have kids, they’re out of school. But there’s one very important element that makes summer not a great time to travel: Cost…
By Emma McGowan
)}