Mom. Mother. Mama. Madre. Or maybe even Auntie. No matter what we call them, we all have special women in our lives who deserve to be celebrated this upcoming Mother’s Day. And chances are that while she might have some incredible superpowers, she probably isn’t a superstar athlete. These following four moms, however, are just that: extraordinarily accomplished in their sports AND the mothers to some very lucky kids. The mom at home and the G.O.A.T on the slopes, court or pool? Now that’s major shero status.
Here’s more on four winning women who had children, only to come back to their sports that much stronger.
Kikkan Randall: Olympic Gold Medalist, Cross-Country Skiing
Kikkan Randall was the only mother that competed on the 2018 Winter Olympic team for the U.S., and she’s a huge deal in her sport. The PyeongChang Games were her fifth Olympics as a competitor in cross-country skiing, one of only a small handful of athletes to reach that number. Randall has won 17 U.S. National titles, made 16 podiums in the Stage World Cup, and had the highest finish by an individual U.S. woman at the World Championships. Randall was also a team recipient of the WSF Travel & Training Fund with APU Elite Women’s Nordic Ski Team. In South Korea, with retirement from skiing on the very-near horizon, Randall and American teammate Jessie Diggins won the United States’ first ever cross-country skiing gold medal at the Winter Olympics in women’s team sprint.
Randall gave birth to a son, Breck, in 2016 and has been a vocal advocate since for better conditions at elite athletic events for mothers, including daycares and breastfeeding rooms. “Men can have families, and they don’t ever have to miss a single race,” she told the New York Times. “Knowing we were all having babies, we lobbied to have some support for moms that first season back. It’s the first time the international federation has provided that kind of support.”
Candace Parker: WNBA Champion, Two-Time Olympic Gold Medalist, Basketball
Widely considered one of the best playing in the WNBA today, Candace Parker has been a star on the basketball court since her days winning USA Today’s High School Player of the Year — the only two-time winner in the history of the award. Parker then played for the legendary Pat Summitt at the University of Tennessee, winning the NCAA Championship in 2007 and 2008. The future mom of Lailaa continued her winning ways in the WNBA after being drafted as the first pick by the Los Angeles Sparks. In 2008, Parker was the first WNBA player to win both the Rookie of the Year and the Most Valuable Player awards in the same season. In 2016, after eight years in the league and overcoming a number of career-challenging injuries, Parker led the Sparks to the WNBA Championship.
Parker married Shelden Williams, who played college basketball at Duke University and also played in the NBA, in 2008. The couple had a daughter, Lailaa Nicole Williams, in 2009.
“Lailaa was a pleasant surprise to my husband and I right in the very beginning of my career. I vowed from the start that I would have both a successful family and career. So many times I hear of women quitting their jobs as a result of their families. That is a decision that many women make and I support their choice. I choose to do both,” Parker told MyBrownBaby.com.
Danelle Umstead, Three-Time Paralympic Bronze Medalist, Alpine Skiing
At 13, winning alpine skier Danelle Umstead was diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa, a genetic eye condition that resulted in total blindness. Her father, Peter, introduced her to blind skiing in 2000 and was her first guide. Umstead has said the sport “gave my life new meaning.”
She made her Paralympic debut at the 2010 Winter Games, racing with husband Rob as her guide and claiming a bronze medal in both downhill and super combined. Four years later at the 2014 Sochi Paralympics, Umstead won another super combined bronze medal. She also finished top-five in downhill, slalom and super-G. After qualifying for the 2018 PyeongChang Games, Umstead finished in the top-10 in those same events.
Umstead’s son Brocton was born in 2008. She says of him, “my son is our No. 1 fan. He supports us — even though it is a sacrifice when we travel. It is hard leaving him behind. It actually breaks my heart every time. I do believe he has learned a lot through all of our travels, competitions and sacrifices; he’s a strong boy who loves his parents and is super-proud of us.”
Dana Vollmer, Seven-Time Olympic Medalist, Swimming
Self-styled as a “Momma on a Mission,” swimmer Dana Vollmer is one of the most decorated American female Olympians of all-time, currently ranked fourth in the medals-won ranking. At the age of 12, Vollmer was the youngest swimmer to compete at the 2000 U.S. Olympic Trials, and at the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, Vollmer won her first gold medal as a member of the winning U.S. team in the 4 x 200 freestyle relay. She has since won four additional Olympic gold medals, as well as a silver and bronze. In total, Vollmer has won thirty two medals in major international competitions, including nineteen gold medals, eight silver, and five bronze, spanning the Olympics, the World Championships, the Pan American Games, the Pan Pacific Championships and the Goodwill Games.
In 2015, Vollmer gave birth to son Arlen Jackson Grant with husband, former Stanford swimmer Andy Grant. In April of 2017 Vollmer competed in the Women’s 50 Free of the 2017 Arena Pro Swim Series Indy while six months pregnant with second son Ryker Alexander. But she’s not even finished just yet. Vollmer has plans to compete for a spot on the 2020 Tokyo Team USA — if she qualifies, she’ll make her fourth trip to the Olympic Games. Momma on a mission, indeed.
When asked how she manages her rigorous workout schedule with her life as full-time mom, Voller told aol.com: “The schedule looks different than it used to, but we’re making it work and I think that’s another message I really want women to understand: it might look different than how other people do it, but we can make it work. Like we are so incredibly strong and creative and we can do things a different way and still reach the dreams we want to get to.”