We rooted for these two Olympic hopefuls, Lashinda Demus and Kerri Walsh, to win for team U.S.A. this summer. Demus won a silver medal (her first) in the 400 meter hurdles, while Walsh won a gold medal (her third) in women's volleyball, alongside teammate Misty May-Treanor. But to each Olympic medalist, their biggest fans -- and prime source of motivation -- are their own young kids.
Meet Lashinda Demus
A mom of 5-year-old twin boys, from Los Angeles, she holds the American record for 400-meter hurdles.
Parents magazine: How did being an athlete prepare you for motherhood?
Lashida Demus: In track, you win some and you lose some, but you still have to keep working. It's the same in parenting. I was depressed at the beginning of my pregnancy, which my husband and I hadn't planned, because I was worried that it would mean the end of my career. But after seeing the twins moving in a sonogram, I was able to turn my depression into motivation.
Parents: What is the biggest challenge of being a mom athlete?
LD: When I have to be away from my boys for a month at a time, I have to fight feelings of being an unworthy mother and know that what I'm doing is enough and what I'm giving is enough.
Parents: How has being a mom made you a different athlete?
LD: In the past I was driven more by money, but now my priorities have changed and I want to leave a family legacy for my boys.
Meet Kerri Walsh
This Manhattan Beach, California, mom of boys ages 2 and 3 won the gold medal in Beach Volleyball in the 2004 and 2008 Olympics.
Parents: How have you changed since having kids?
Kerri Walsh: I'm happier and more fulfilled. I'm physically strong, and I was able to bounce back well after my pregnancies. I always wanted to be a working mom, and it has been a beautiful shift in mind-set, because being an athlete isn't the be-all and end-all anymore, and that has made me better at my job
Parents: What's been the toughest part?
KW: Trying to be perfect in everything you do, but I'm a mom first and an athlete second. As far as training goes, I just have to be more efficient. Once my husband and I drop the boys off at school, it's a dead sprint to get everything done before we pick them up in the afternoon.
Parents: Has your experience with volleyball made you better at juggling everything?
KW: As an athlete and a mom, you have to be nimble enough to adjust to situations and prepare for everything. You have to have a positive attitude throughout the journey.
Originally published in the August 2012 issue of Parents magazine.