It’s impossible to ignore the Olympics at the moment and quite frankly we wouldn’t want to. Who can fail to be inspired as athletes from across the world compete to prove they are the best in their chosen field? But there is one athlete who has done more than just fight to retain her title; she is blazing a trail for mothers and women everywhere. We are thrilled to celebrate the awe inspiring…
2 minute read
Since Jessica took the World by storm with her spectacular gold medal winning performance in the Heptathlon at the London 2012 Olympics she became a mother. By her own admission her son Reggies’s arrival was not planned however it was most definitely welcomed. Having a child in the peak of her sporting career is a path not trodden by many before her. In fact only two women have retained their Olympic title in the same Olympic cycle as they gave birth in – which shows how few women return to competitive sport after giving birth.
Even Jessica herself questioned her ability to perform at her best again
“We had a lot of times where I said ah I’m rubbish – I can’t do it. I can’t run like I used to, I can’t hurdle like I used to
With the the obvious physical changes to her body, is it any wonder that Jessica had her doubts about ever being able to achieve the goals she had reached before? Fortunately she had head coach Toni Minichiello to show her how to embrace the changes motherhood has bought to her as an athlete. It is Post Pregnancy Personal Bests, or PPPB’s as Toni calls them that have helped Jessica to redefine her view of herself as an athlete.
“The frustration and the anxiety … every week, at least three times a week or daily because she would always measure herself against the athlete she was but physically she wasn’t the same person. It was really tough mentally. Her body was changing month to month” – Toni
By acknowledging the changes in her life and working with them instead of against them, Jessica has changed how she works as an athlete. Her coach acknowledges that not only has Jessica’s body changed but so too her priorities, so they work together to make sure her parenting needs are incorporated into the training schedule. Toni has been chronicling their journey to Rio via the blog Coach to Rio which shows some of the day to day problems of parenthood, like when they couldn’t get the car seat to fit a day before her son was due to arrive for a visit at their pre-Rio training camp.
“Nowadays it’s more about relationships, that’s why sorting a car seat is critical. It’s about ensuring that everything that could provide a negative distraction is removed or limited” – Toni
It was this supportive and understanding relationship that led them to victory at the World Championships last year and saw Jessica claim the silver medal in the early hours of Sunday despite a training year plagued by injury.
Even Jessica herself was surprised by her championship win last year, she didn’t think she could win so soon after returning to training but with hard work, commitment, a shift in perspective and by embracing motherhood as part of her athletic journey Jessica is proving to women everywhere that anything is possible if you have the mindset, desire and a great coach beside you.
Do you want to nominate a #BATBStar? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org – We can’t wait to hear from women and men who are doing things differently!