Super Mamas! 10 Moms Competing in the Tokyo Olympics This Summer
Allyson Felix, Alex Morgan and more athletes are pulling double duty as full-time Olympians and full-time moms
The veteran U.S. women's national soccer team player will compete in her third Olympic games this summer, her first as a mom. Morgan, who plays for Orlando Pride, welcomed daughter Charlie with husband Servando Carrasco in May 2020.
The nine-time Olympic medalist is set to appear in her fifth Olympic Games this summer, after coming in second place during the 400m trial finals on June 20. She is also in the running to participate on Team USA's 4x400 relay team for a fourth time.
Felix holds the most medals of any American woman in Olympic track & field history; this summer, she could break or tie Carl Lewis' record of 10 medals to become the most decorated American track & field athlete in history.
"My legacy is not only on the track," she told PEOPLE. Felix, who welcomed her daughter Camryn in November 2018, hopes that returning to the Olympics as a mom will prove that women can continue to break records in sports after having children.
"I want things to look different for those coming after me and so that means really pushing on certain issues and really standing up for ourselves," she said.
Hayes came in first place in the women's 400m at the track & field trials, securing her first Olympic appearance in Tokyo. There to celebrate the milestone achievement was her son Demetrius, whom she welcomed in October 2018.
"Coming back, it was tough," the athlete told NBC Sports of returning to track after giving birth. "It was like I had to learn how to run all over again. I couldn't come out of [the blocks], my stride was different."
Zagunis — who with four Olympic medals is the most decorated fencer in U.S. history — will make her fifth Olympic appearance in Tokyo this summer. It will also be her first as a mom — the famous sabre fencer welcomed her first child, daughter Sunday Noelle, with husband Mike Swehla in October 2017.
While training for Tokyo, Zagunis told USA Fencing that welcoming her daughter has given her new motivation.
"I'm really excited to go to my next Olympics with her to show that anything is possible. If you put your mind to it, you can make your dreams come true. It would be a really awesome experience to have with her and our entire family and to be able to tell her someday that I went to all these Olympics and then had her and we did it together."
Families of Olympic athletes are not currently permitted to travel to Japan due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic restrictions, though nursing children will be allowed to accompany their athlete mothers.
The four-time WNBA all-star will make her Olympic debut in Tokyo this summer. Diggins-Smith, who plays for Phoenix Mercury, played the 2018 season while expecting her first child, a son named Rowan "Seven" Smith, whom she welcomed in April 2019 with husband Daniel Smith.
Tuliamuk, who came in first place in the women's marathon at the U.S. Olympic Trials in February 2020, initially planned to start a family after competing in the Tokyo Olympics. When the Games were postponed, she and partner Tim Gannon decided to expand their family sooner than they'd intended, and welcomed daughter Zoe in January 2021.
"It was a risky move," she told NBC Sports of the decision to have a baby before competing. "The window we had was very small because we had to make sure [to have enough] time, after having the baby, to train [for the Olympics]."
"In the future, [my daughter] will be able to look back and say, 'My mom was able to run a marathon at the Olympics six-and-a-half months after having me,' " Tuliamuk told On Her Turf. "And I hope that inspires her… and other little girls and boys, too."
Gunderson will make her third appearance in the Olympics this summer, and her first as a mom. The veteran volleyball star won silver in 2012 and bronze in 2016, and welcomed son Olukayode Ayodele in 2019 with husband Jonathan Gunderson.
The two-time Olympian softball pitcher came out of retirement in 2018 in order to train for Tokyo. Osterman won gold in 2004 and silver in 2008, which was the last time softball was included in the games. This year will mark Osterman and the sport's return to the Olympics. She wed husband Joey Ashley in 2016, and became stepmom to his daughter Bracken.
Taurasi is already an Olympic gold medalist — several times over, in fact. The WNBA star, who plays for Phoenix Mercury, took home her fourth medal during the 2016 Games in Rio. Taurasi's wife Penny Taylor, an Olmypian herself, gave birth to the couple's first child, a son named Leo, in March 2018.
Kipyego qualified for her second Games at the U.S. Olympic marathon trials in 2020, three years after welcoming her daughter Emma in 2017.
"As an Athlete, I was not sure how Motherhood would play a role in my running," she wrote in an Instagram post promoting Nike Women. "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."
Kipyego previously competed for Kenya at the 2012 London Olympics; this will be her first Olympic appearance for the U.S.