Meet the moms who have qualified for the U.S. Olympic team

Allyson Felix and Quanera Hayes are just two of the moms on the U.S. Olympic team
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One of the most iconic moments at U.S. Olympic Track & Field Trials came during the celebration following the women’s 400m final. After qualifying for her fifth Olympic team – and first as a mom – second-place finisher Allyson Felix introduced her two-year-old daughter Cammy to another toddler: Demetrius, son of first-place finisher Quanera Hayes.

“Can you say we’re going to Tokyo?” Felix asked, right after Demetrius leaned in to give Cammy a hug.

During the impromptu playdate, Hayes made a point of thanking Felix.

“I just told her that I was grateful for all that she’s done for mothers, and her paving the way for me as an athlete with all that she’s done for the sport,” Hayes said.

At the Tokyo Olympics, Felix and Hayes will be joined on the U.S. Olympic roster by at least ten other moms.

One particularly notable stat: For three U.S. athletes – Allyson Felix, Diana Taurasi, and Mariel Zagunis – Tokyo will mark their fifth Olympics, but first as moms.

Moms who have qualified for Team USA for the Tokyo Olympics

Skylar Diggins-Smith – Basketball

After playing the 2018 season while pregnant, four-time WNBA all-star Skylar Diggins-Smith gave birth to her son Rowan “Seven” Smith in April 2019. The Tokyo Games will mark Diggins-Smith’s Olympic debut.

Diana Taurasi – Basketball

Since winning her fourth Olympic gold medal in Rio, Diana Taurasi has become a mom. Taurasi’s wife Penny Taylor, a two-time Olympic silver medalist for Australia, gave birth to the couple’s son Leo in 2018.

In Tokyo, Taurasi and teammate Sue Bird could become the first basketball players to win five Olympic gold medals. The U.S. team will be aiming to win a seventh straight gold medal.

Mariel Zagunis – Fencing

The Tokyo Games will mark the fifth Olympic appearance for Mariel Zagunis (and her first as a mom). Zagunis, a four-time Olympic medalist and the most decorated U.S. fencer in history, gave birth to her daughter Sunday Noelle in October 2017.

Alex Morgan – Soccer

While Alex Morgan never ruled out playing the Tokyo Olympics before the postponement, she was certainly aided by the one year delay. Morgan, who will be making her third Olympic appearance this summer, gave birth to daughter Charlie in May 2020. In Tokyo, Morgan will become the fifth USWNT player to make an Olympic roster after giving birth.

ALSO FROM ON HER TURF: U.S. Olympic team for Tokyo features record number of women

Gwendolyn Berry – Track & Field, Hammer Throw

Gwendolyn Berry is one of the U.S. Olympic team’s most outspoken racial justice activists. At the 2019 Pan American Games, Berry raised a fist on the podium – a demonstration that resulted in her being publicly reprimanded and put on probation by the USOPC.

But last June, during the racial reckoning sparked by the murder of George Floyd, Berry received an apology from the USOPC. And in March, the USOPC announced it would allow racial and social justice demonstrations at U.S. Olympic Trials.

On both days of women’s hammer competition at U.S. Olympic Trials, Berry held up an “Activist Athlete” t-shirt.

Earlier in the week, Berry said the pressure she felt ahead of the final didn’t compare to the pressure she has experienced as a Black woman. She also cited the concern she has for her teenage son Derrick.

“I feel like being Black in America is enough pressure,” she said. “The neighborhoods I grew up in is enough pressure. The things I have to deal with and I have to protect my son from is enough pressure. And I’m here. I’m old enough to be able to handle a lot of this pressure.”

Allyson Felix – Track & Field, 400m

At the 2016 Rio Olympics, Allyson Felix became the most decorated American woman in Olympic track & field history (nine medals, including six gold). Two years later, she became a mother. A severe case of preeclampsia resulted in an emergency c-section and Felix’s daughter Cammy spent her first month in the NICU.

Felix has since raised awareness about racial disparities in maternal mortality, testifying in Congress about her own experience.

At the Tokyo Games, Felix’s fifth Olympic appearance, she could tie or break the record for most medals won by an American track & field athlete. The current record is held by Carl Lewis (10).

RELATED VIDEO: Dear Cammy: Allyson Felix writes powerful letter to her daughter

Quanera Hayes – Track & Field, 400m

Quanera Hayes qualified for her first Olympic team by winning the women’s 400m at U.S. Olympic Track & Field Trials and celebrated on the track with her son Demetrius.

Hayes gave birth to Demetrius in October 2018 and said returning to the track was a challenge. “Coming back, it was tough. 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.”

Still, her hardest experience as a mom came last year. Quanera’s husband, Demetrius Sr., is from the Bahamas and baby Demetrius was visiting his grandparents when the island shut down to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“He was stuck in the Bahamas for four months,” she said. “I couldn’t get to him, they couldn’t get to me… It was the worst experience of my life. He was growing up and he was learning new stuff without me.”

The emotional reunion between Hayes and her son was captured in this video.

Sally Kipyego – Track & Field, Marathon

Sally Kipyego finished third at U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials in February 2020 to qualify for her second Olympic team. At the 2012 London Olympics, Kipyego won silver in 10,000 while representing Kenya. She became an American citizen in 2017, the same year she gave birth to her daughter Emma.

“A lot of women have children, and they come back and somehow they run and they’re fantastic,” she said after making the U.S. Olympic team. “That was not my story. My body fell apart. I got sick all the time. I couldn’t even put together a month of training without getting fatigued.”

Brittney Reese – Track & Field, Long Jump

Brittney Reese is one of the most dominant long jumpers of all time. She owns one Olympic gold medal (2012), four outdoor world titles, and three indoor world titles. The Tokyo Games will mark Reese’s fourth Olympic appearance, and second as a mom. In 2016, Reese adopted her godson Alex after a longtime friend was no longer able to raise him.

Aliphine Tuliamuk – Track & Field, Marathon

When Aliphine Tuliamuk won the women’s marathon at U.S. Olympic Trials in February 2020, she had it all planned out: she was going to race at the Olympics in July and then she wanted to have a baby.

But when the Covid-19 pandemic postponed the Games, Tuliamuk and her partner Tim Gannon reassassed their family planning timeline. Tuliamuk announced her pregnancy in December 2020 and gave birth to daughter Zoe in January (after 50 hours in labor).

“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 in April. “And I hope that inspires her… and other little girls and boys, too.”

ALSO FROM ON HER TURF: With overseas fans barred from Olympics, new moms ask: what about my baby?

Cat Osterman – Softball

Both Cat Osterman and the sport of softball will return to the Olympics this summer. Osterman, 38, was a member of the U.S. team at the last two Olympics where softball was contested, winning gold in 2004 and silver in 2008. Osterman retired from the sport 2015. The following year, she married her husband Joey Ashley and became stepmom to daughter Bracken.

In 2018, Osterman came out of retirement with the goal of winning gold in Tokyo.

Foluke Gunderson (née Akinradewo) – Volleyball

The Tokyo Olympics will mark Foluke Gunderson’s third Olympics, but first as a mom. After winning silver in 2012 and bronze in 2016, Gunderson gave birth to son Olukayode Ayodele in late 2019.

Gunderson is one of four returning Olympians on the U.S. women’s volleyball roster. In Tokyo, the U.S. will aim to win its first ever gold medal in women’s volleyball. In 11 appearances, the U.S. has finished on the podium five times (three silver medals, two bronze).

A note about Serena Williams

Serena Williams, a four-time Olympic gold medalist, mathematically clinched a spot in Tokyo earlier this year, but on Sunday, June 27, she indicated that she won’t be competing at the Olympics.

“I’m actually not on the Olympic list,” Williams said. “If so, then I should not be on it.”

In May, Williams voiced concerns about whether her daughter Olympia would be able to travel to Japan with her. “I haven’t spent 24 hours without her, so that kind of answers the question itself,” she said then.

Ahead of Wimbledon, Williams did not provide a specific reason for her Olympic decision. “I don’t feel like going into them today, but maybe another day,” she said.

This story will continue to be updated in the lead-up to the Tokyo Olympics. 

The NBC Olympics research team contributed to this report. 

Follow Alex Azzi on Twitter @AlexAzziNBC

Kaillie Humphries elevates another fresh U.S. face to podium status in two-woman bobsled World Cup

Kaillie Humphries of USA, Kaysha Love of USA in action at the 2 women's bobsleigh during Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games.
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PARK CITY, UTAH – Kaillie Humphries extended her podium streak on Saturday at the IBSF World Cup, where she and U.S. push athlete Jasmine Jones finished third in the two-woman bobsled.

The third-place finish in Park City marked the sixth podium for Humphries at the Park City track, which hosted the 2002 Olympics, and was Jones’ career-first World Cup podium in just her second World Cup start.

“This is our first race together, so really excited about that,” said the 37-year-old Humphries, considered the greatest female driver in history with three Olympic gold medals (2010, 2014 and 2022) and five world championships titles. She earned her 29th career World Cup win on Friday in Park City in the women’s monobob.

“Definitely a work in progress. … The runs weren’t perfect, but I’m really happy with our starts, happy with our drives minus a few little mistakes. It’s a good starting point, and we’ll look to grow from here.”

Humphries and Jones finished with a combined, two-run time of 1:37.69, 0.32 behind winners Kim Kalicki and brakewoman Leonie Fiebig of Germany at 1:37.37. Fellow Germans Laura Nolte and Lena Neunecker were second at 0.23 back.

Kalicki and Fiebig broke a 16-year-old track record with their first run, laying down a time of 48.60 seconds and besting the time set by Americans Shauna Rohbock and Valerie Fleming – the 2006 Olympic silver medalists – in December 2006 (48.73). It also marked the second straight victory for Kalicki, who’s won five career World Cup titles including last week’s two-woman bobsled race in Whistler, Canada.

“I was hoping Kaillie would get [the record],” said Rohbock, who is now a U.S. team coach and was on hand to see her record fall. “That first run there, she had that little skid in the bottom, so that didn’t help, but Kailee’s always putting up a great performance. And Jasmine, another great brakewoman, so we’re really lucky that we have that depth.”

For Team USA, it marked the second straight week that a fresh face earned her first podium finish while competing with Humphries. Last week in Whistler, push athlete Emily Renna and Humphries placed third in Renna’s first-ever World Cup appearance.

MORE IBSF WORLD CUP COVERAGE: Kelly Curtis notches career-best finish with top five at Park City skeleton World Cup

“Being able to race with her was really special,” said the 29-year-old Renna, who was a college track athlete at University of Rhode Island. “It’s really nice to be around seasoned veterans. It definitely makes you feel better in the back sled with you when you’ve got a good pilot who knows the track.”

Renna finished in eighth place in Park City with 12-year U.S. team veteran and pilot Nicole Vogt (1:39.04). Vogt partnered with Jones in her first World Cup last week where they finished seventh in Whistler, 1.33 seconds behind winners Kalicki and German teammate Anabel Galander.

“To have an opportunity to be with Kaillie in my World Cup debut – it’s exciting,” said the 26-year-old Jones, who was a collegiate track and field athlete at Eastern Michigan. “I just feel like I have so much more in the tank to give, and I’m just hungry for it.”

Jones is particularly gratified with her performance after returning full-time to bobsled less than 18 months ago following the birth of her daughter, Jade Quinn Jones, in February 2021. The Greensburg, Pa., native returned to training just five months postpartum, having sat out the 2020-21 season. She competed on the North American Cup last year, finishing the season with a win (the third NA Cup title of her career) and a third place in Lake Placid.

“I’m thankful,” said Jones. “Opportunity is the main thing, and I just feel blessed to have my first World Cup podium. I’m screaming on the inside. I may not show it, but I am jumping for joy because I’m just that excited and happy to have this accomplishment.”

She admits, however, it’s not always easy to compete balance a full-time competitive career with being a mom.

“Sometimes it’s a struggle being away from my daughter,” said Jones, whose mom takes care of Jade while she travels. “I try to get my facetimes in every night and just know that when I’m pushing, I’m doing it for her. Hopefully sometime in the future I’ll have her around on the sidelines cheering me on, and that’s my main motivation – that this is for her.”

The BMW IBSF World Cup continues its North American swing Dec. 16-18 in Lake Placid, N.Y.

Kaillie Humphries faces IVF journey head on — and collects monobob World Cup win along the way

Gold medallist Kaillie Humphries of Team United States celebrates during the Women's Monobob.
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PARK CITY, UTAH — Kaillie Humphries knew the quest to start a family would impact her 2022-23 season, but it’s certainly not slowing down Team USA’s reigning monobob Olympic gold medalist, who captured her first World Cup title in the discipline on Friday.

The 37-year-old Humphries, considered the greatest female driver in history with three Olympic golds (2010, 2014 and 2022) and five world championships, earned her 29th career World Cup win and her third victory on the Park City track, where she won the two-woman bobsled competitions in 2012 and 2016. Competing in Utah – as well as North American World Cup stops in Whistler last week and in Lake Placid, N.Y., on Dec. 17-18 – is one of the reasons that Humphries pushed pause on her journey to motherhood.

“I’m excited,” Humphries said following the win, marking her second straight podium in monobob following a third-place finish last week in Whistler. “I was excited for this year before it started. It’s part and parcel of why my husband and I delayed the IVF process and starting a family this season. To be able to be back in North America and have the first half of the season here – it’s been a long time since we’ve had that, so I wanted to be able to compete and it feels awesome.”

That’s not to say the leadup to this season has been without its share of hiccups. In fact, Humphries admits that following the Beijing Olympics, she had hoped to get pregnant immediately, but she and husband Travis Armbruster had to pivot when a diagnosis of stage 4 endometriosis made it clear that in vitro fertilization would be the best path for pregnancy.

“Right after the Olympics, I was like, ‘We’re going to get pregnant; it’s gonna be all good,’” she said. “I thought, my body has always performed, and it wasn’t going to be an issue. Fast forward to I find out we have to do IVF. We do the first egg retrieval, and it doesn’t go as well as I had hoped — which anybody that’s done this process knows, you can’t control any aspect of it. And so having to do a second round of egg retrieval, …it pushed everything back.”

What’s more, it brought Humphries’ training to a standstill at times, when she would have to limit all physical activity during the three-week period surrounding the egg-retrieval process.

“It impacted my training coming into this year a lot,” she says, “but I also think it definitely reset my hormones, which turns out I needed. I don’t think was a bad thing. I knew coming into this year, I wasn’t going to be in the same shape as I have been in the past, and I had to make peace with that. I know that each and every race I’m racing myself into shape, and each race is a preparation for January’s World Championships.”

Humphries also chose to share her IVF journey publicly, and she’s documented every step of the way, believing that her story makes it less scary not just for her but also for other women and female athletes who might be facing the same thing.

MORE IBSF WORLD CUP: Kelly Curtis notches career-best finish with top five at Park City skeleton World Cup

“My husband and I weren’t sure that we wanted to share it at first,” she admits. “But I felt it was important just to showcase this. I have nothing to hide. And as much as there are parts of me certain days when I think, ‘What’s wrong with me?’ At the end of the day, I know I’m not alone in this.

“It’s important, I do have a voice, and I want other people to know, as an Olympic gold medalist, if it can happen to me, it can happen to anybody. Infertility exists in the female body, and it’s important that I talk about it in my journey and hopefully that’s inspired other people.”

She says she’s received an outpouring of support, which has been particularly gratifying as she continues to put a painful breakup with Team Canada in the rearview mirror. Humphries, who was born in Calgary, competed for Canada for 16 years, winning three Olympic medals including a bronze in Pyeongchang in 2018. But the relationship came to an abrupt end later just five months after the 2018 Games, after Humphries alleged emotional and mental harassment by a former coach.

Winning a gold medal in Beijing just two months after her U.S. citizenship was finalized proved to be turning point for Humphries, who commemorated the milestone with two new tattoos. She first added the date of her win – Feb. 14, 2022 – to the back of her left hand and a larger rose and skull illustration to the back of her right knee and calf, all of which commemorate her triumph over that darker period.

“The skull represents a rebirth and a growth, overcoming challenges and/or obstacles and turning something negative into something positive,” explains Humphries, who says she chose the rose because it’s the national flower of the U.S. as well as a symbol of love won or lost. She notes that she has “an actual Olympic one” planned for August 2024, which is when her favorite tattoo artist is next available.

Humphries has also found the silver lining in her IVF journey, as the competition season has been a welcome break from some of the self-imposed pressure.

“By pushing pause for four or five months and competing, it allowed me mentally to know that we can go into all of next summer and all winter focusing on just doing the actual embryo transfers and having a good pregnancy,” she says. “I don’t feel stressed to try and get pregnant right away. I felt like I was becoming competitive with myself, wondering why isn’t this working? Why can’t I do this? I tried to control too many things, and I started to get really frustrated. Mentally, it was hard. So, by pushing pause, going back to what I know — which is the sport, which is what I love – it’s allowed me to control a little bit of my future.”

Humphries’ season continues Saturday as the IBSF World Cup from Park City concludes with the two-woman bobsleigh.