The lovely news of Jessica Ennis-Hill’s pregnancy doesn’t have to be bad news for sports fans. Here are ten MILMs (Mom I’d Like to Medal) who dazzled on the track after having kids.
1. Fanny Blankers-Koen (above)
Dutch athlete Blankers-Koen, a 30-year-old mother-of-two, lit up the London 1948 Olympic Games by winning gold in the 100m, 200m, 80m hurdles and 4x100m relay. The Flying Housewife set or tied 12 world records in a range of events from sprints, hurdles, long jump, high jump and pentathlon: all after giving birth.
2. Wilma Rudolph
A polio victim as a child, the Tennessee-born sprinter had already given birth to the first of four children two years before she became a global superstar at the Rome 1960 Olympics. So-called The Black Gazelle by the local press, Rudolph won a 100m, 200m and 4x100m sprint treble, and ran a wind-aided 11 flat in the blue riband event.
3. Paula Radcliffe
Radcliffe enjoyed her finest success during the first half of the noughties, with a marathon world record and world title. Even as a mum, she remained a world-class athlete. Ten months after giving birth to her first child, Isla, she claimed a second New York Marathon title in 2007, and successfully defended it the following year.
4. Lashinda Demus
Already a world silver medallist by the time she gave birth to twin boys Dohntay and Duaine in 2007, her career has continued to flourish since. Demus, from California, has won 400m hurdles silver, gold and bronze respectively at the past three world champs; as well as silver at the London Olympics.
5. Liz McColgan
The resilient Scottish distance runner gave birth to Eilish, the first of her five children, just ninth months before winning 10,000m gold at the Tokyo 1991 World Championships: a victory described at the time by British commentator Brendan Foster as “the greatest ever by any British distance runner.” It clearly rubbed off on baby Eilish, now 23, who placed tenth in the women’s steeplechase final at the Moscow 2013 World Championships.
6. Derartu Tulu
The Ethiopian created history by becoming the first black African woman to land Olympic gold, triumphing in the 10,000m at the Barcelona 1992 Olympics. In 2000, she regained that title in Sydney Games, two years after giving birth to her daughter, Tsion. Derartu then went on to win the London and New York marathons, as well as the 2001 world 10,000m title.
7. Anna Chicherova
The statuesque Russian credits motherhood for greater contentment in her life, and it has certainly helped her high jumping, too. She retired following a silver medal at the Berlin 2009 World Championships, and gave birth to her first child Nika in September 2010. Under a year later she claimed her maiden world title in Daegu, followed by Olympic gold at London 2012.
8. Svetlana Masterkova
Making a comeback after giving birth to daughter Anastasia in 1995, by the time Masterkova finally raced again competitively in May 1996, aged 28, it had been almost three years since her last race.
Two months later, she completed a stunning 800m and 1500m middle-distance double, and went on to set world records for the 1000m and mile, which still stand today.
9. Stefka Kostadinova
Kostadinova set a still-unbeaten world high jump record of 2.09m at the Rome 1987 World Championships, and regained her global crown eight years later in Gothenburg, just SIX months after giving birth to a son (Nikolay). The HJ legend then went on to bank Olympic gold at Atlanta 1996.
10. Constantina Dita
By the time Pusha became the oldest ever winner of an Olympic marathon, aged 38 at the 2008 Beijing Games, she had a teenage son. Dita, a committed front-runner from Romania, had given birth to Raphael back in 1995.