Anyone who’s within spitting distance of the Olympics deserves some sort of medal in our book, but these competitors have a huge achievement at home: They’re also moms. It’s hard enough for most of us to squeeze in regular workouts, but these women balance near-constant training with the demands of family life. Here’s how they keep their eyes on the prize and their heart at home.
Hometown: Granbury, Texas
Going for gold in: Swimming
Her smallest fan: Son, Arlen, 17 months old
Shero moments: Despite being on bed rest for the last seven weeks of her pregnancy, Vollmer placed fourth at the national championships in the 100-meter butterfly in August 2015, five months after giving birth. She then placed first in that event at the winter national championships.
On the road to Rio: “When I decided to make a go of [the Olympics] again, I had to decide if I could make it happen on less sleep, taking care of Arlen, and everything else that’s different in my life,” she told USASwimming.org. “My intensity level is higher because I have other responsibilities that are more important.”
Hometown: Eden Prairie, Minnesota
Going for gold in: Paratriathlon
Her littlest fan: Son, Dallas, 21 months
Shero moment: This Army veteran (she lost her leg in 2004 while in active combat in Iraq) ran her first full mile postpartum just six weeks after giving birth.
On the road to Rio: “Are the days busy? Absolutely. Is it sometimes overwhelming? Yes. But it all works out in the end,” she told Triathlete.com.
Hometown: Gulfport, Mississippi
Going for hardware in: Track & Field
Her smallest fan: 8-year-old son Alex Wildee Jr.
Shero moment: Alex was Reese’s godson until she adopted him three years ago. “I wanted to raise him, and his mom agreed with the idea,” Reese said. “He would act out sometimes and I was the one who could straighten him out best.” Meanwhile, she’s continued to train for the Olympics, and will be defending her gold medal in the long jump from the 2012 Summer Olympics. Reese also founded the B. Reese Scholarship fund to help students in her hometown.
On the Road to Rio: “I train for the Olympics five days out the week for two to three hours depending on the days,” Reese told us. “Juggling parenthood with my schedule can be challenging at times. I was homeschooling [Alex], which made things easier because I got to see him every day and make sure he was doing what he is supposed to be doing. I am also lucky to have friends and a coach that are willing to help me if needed.”