The greatest champion moms in Olympic sports history


Seventeen moms who became Olympic gold medalists or champions in their sport’s pinnacle equivalent, ahead of “On Her Turf: Inspiring Greatness” on NBCSN on Sunday at 8 p.m. ET… 

Lisa Andersen
United States

Returned to competition two months after having daughter Erica in Aug. 1, 1993 at age 24. Then won her first world title in 1994, followed by the next three in a row, an unprecedented run for a female surfer.

Kristin Armstrong
United States

The 2008 Olympic time trial champion first retired in 2009 to start a family. After son Lucas arrived in 2010, Armstrong came back to repeat as Olympic gold medalist. She retired again. Then she unretired again and three-peated in Rio, becoming at age 42 the oldest individual U.S. Olympic champion since 1968.

Natascha Badmann

The Swiss Miss won her first Ironman world championship in 1998, when she was 31 and her daughter was 13. Badmann won the 140.6-mile test in Kona five more times, putting her second on the all-time list behind Paula Newby-Fraser.

Marit Bjørgen
Cross-Country Skiing

The most decorated Winter Olympian with 15 medals, trailing only Summer Olympians Michael Phelps and Larisa Latynina. Bjoergen became a mom to son Marius in December 2015, then came back for her fifth Olympics in PyeongChang. She was arguably the most dominant athlete there, earning five medals, including two golds, at age 37. She won the last event of the Games, the 30km, by 109 seconds, the largest Olympic cross-country margin of victory in 38 years, in her final career race.

Fanny Blankers-Koen
Track and Field

“The Flying Housewife” won four gold medals at the 1948 London Olympics, when the mother of two also held the world records in the high jump and long jump, two events in which she didn’t compete at those Games. Named the female athlete of the century by track and field’s international governing body. Would have won more Olympic medals in 1940 or 1944 if not for World War II canceling those Games.

Kim Clijsters

Clijsters lifted one Grand Slam singles trophy before motherhood, then three after having daughter Jada. The Belgian was one of the most adored players on the WTA Tour as she won the U.S. Open in 2009 and 2010 and the Australian Open in 2011 before retiring in 2012.

Margaret Court

Court won three Slams as a mom — the Australian Open, French Open and U.S. Open in 1973. The top seed at Wimbledon that year, Court’s bid for a calendar Grand Slam as a mom was derailed by an 18-year-old Chris Evert in a three-set semifinal.

Joy Fawcett
United States

As a mom, played every minute of the 1995, 1999 and 2003 World Cups and the 1996 and 2000 Olympics. She retired as the most capped defender in U.S. history, a mark that another mom, Christie Rampone, has since bettered.

WATCH LIVE: “On Her Turf: Inspiring Greatness,” Sunday, 8 p.m. ET — STREAM LINK

Birgit Fischer

Arguably the greatest female Olympian. Fischer earned seven of her eight Olympic golds after becoming a mother in 1986. She won three world titles the year following her first childbirth. She took three years off after her second child, returning to win Olympic or world titles seven straight years from 1992 through 1998.

Juli Inkster
United States

Played most of her professional career as a mom. Inkster won four of her seven majors more than five years after having her two daughters, including a pair of U.S. Opens.

Mary Keitany

Became the second-fastest female marathoner in history almost nine years after having her first of two children. The slight, soft-spoken Keitany won four of the last six New York City Marathons and three London Marathons.

Larisa Latynina
Soviet Union

The Olympic career medals leader (18) before Michael Phelps broke the record in 2012. Latynina competed at the 1958 World Championships in Moscow while four months pregnant with daughter Tatyana. She didn’t tell a soul she was expecting, fearful she would be forced to sit out. She won five of six events and took silver on the other. Two years later, she repeated as Olympic team, all-around and floor exercise champion. She finished her Olympic career with another six medals, including two golds, at the 1964 Tokyo Games.

Pat McCormick
United States

Swept the springboard and platform at a second straight Olympics in 1956 after giving birth to son Tim earlier that year. McCormick and Greg Louganis remain the only divers to sweep the golds at multiple Olympics.

Candace Parker
United States

Had daughter Lailaa in 2009. Earned her second Olympic gold medal in 2012. Earned her second WNBA MVP in 2013. Became a WNBA champion for the first time in 2016.

Wilma Rudolph
United States
Track and Field

The 17th of 18 children who contracted polio as an infant, unable to walk properly until age 11, swept the 100m, 200m and 4x100m at the 1960 Rome Olympics. She had daughter Yolanda two years earlier, shortly after her high school graduation.

Sheryl Swoopes
United States

Debuted in the WNBA’s first season in 1997 less than two months after having son Jordan. Swoopes starred on the Houston Comets teams that won the first four WNBA titles. She was WNBA MVP three times and earned her second and third Olympic gold medals in 2000 and 2004.

Kerri Walsh Jennings
United States
Beach Volleyball

The greatest female beach volleyball player in history had sons Joey (conceived shortly after her 2008 Olympic title) and Sundance in 2009 and 2010, between her second and third gold medals with Misty May-Treanor. Walsh Jennings had daughter Scout in 2013, then came back to earn bronze with April Ross at the Rio Games. She’s still at it, looking to become the oldest Olympic beach volleyball player in history at age 42 in Tokyo, which would be her sixth Games overall.

MORE: Moms set to star at Tokyo Olympics

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

Isabeau Levito, 15, delivers in figure skating nationals short program as favorite

Isabeau Levito

Isabeau Levito, the 15-year-old favorite, delivered in the U.S. Figure Skating Championships short program, taking the lead into Friday’s free skate.

Levito, third in her senior nationals debut last year, tallied 73.78 points in a clean short on Thursday in San Jose, California.

She edged the comebacking two-time U.S. champion Bradie Tennell by two hundredths of a point. Starr Andrews was third, one hundredth ahead of Amber Glenn and 1.53 points ahead of Gracie Gold, looking to make her first world championships.

A committee selects the three-woman team for worlds shortly after the free skate.

“I was kind of aiming for this placement,” Levito said on USA Network.

FIGURE SKATING NATIONALS: Full Scores | Broadcast Schedule

Levito, a New Jersey native who started skating at 3 and a half and has been with the same coach since age 4, developed a steely reputation as a competitor. That mixes with her artistic comparisons to 2006 Olympic silver medalist Sasha Cohen and her inspiration, Johnny Weir. She hasn’t missed a podium at a competition she has completed at any level since November 2016.

It’s seemed like Levito has been destined to be the leading U.S. woman in the 2026 Olympic cycle, leading up to the Winter Games in her mom’s hometown of Milan. She was too young for last year’s Olympics, but would have just missed the team had she been age-eligible.

None of the three 2022 U.S. Olympians are competing this season — Alysa Liu and Mariah Bell retired; Karen Chen is studying at Cornell — paving the way for Levito to ascend.

That she did, winning April’s junior worlds to become the first U.S. woman to win a global title — junior or senior — since 2008.

Then this past fall, Levito placed second in her first two senior Grand Prix starts, then placed a surprising second at December’s Grand Prix Final, which gathered the world’s top six women from across the series.

Granted, the Final was her lowest point total of her five international events this season. All six skaters had multiple jumping errors in the free skate.

Levito ranks fifth in the world by best total score this season, fourth among seniors and a whopping 18.13 points better than the No. 2 American. Note the absence of Russia, which has dominated women’s skating for the last decade.

Levito won’t be worrying about her international standing while sitting on an overnight lead. She has work left in Friday’s free skate to win what could be the first in a series of national titles.

Tennell, 24, had her best short program since coming back from a 19-month competition break due to foot and ankle injuries. She was unable to defend her national title last year, ruling her out of Olympic contention.

“Even just making it back onto the ice again was a struggle,” Tennell said while in the arena where she made her Olympic team in 2018. “I stepped on the ice today and I looked up and I closed my eyes and I took a deep breath, and I was like, ‘You can do this,’ which is the exact same thing I did five years ago.”

Andrews, 21, is coming a fall Grand Prix Series where she became the first Black U.S. skater to win a medal on the circuit.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

2023 U.S. Figure Skating Championships scores, results

2023 U.S. Figure Skating Championships

Full scores and results from the 2023 U.S. Figure Skating Championships in San Jose …

Women’s Short Program
1. Isabeau Levito — 73.78
2. Bradie Tennell — 73.76
3. Starr Andrews — 68.97
4. Amber Glenn — 68.96
5. Gracie Gold — 67.44
6. Lindsay Thorngren — 62.64
7. Clare Seo — 61.48
8. Ava Ziegler — 61.09
9. Audrey Shin — 60.76
10. Ting Cui — 57.11
11. Josephine Lee — 55.60
12. Lindsay Wang — 52.19
13. Sonja Hilmer — 51.16
14. Michelle Lee — 46.71
15. Gabriella Izzo — 45.73
16. Alexa Gasparotto — 45.00
17. Elsa Cheng — 44.36
18. Hanna Harrell — 42.84

Pairs Short Program
1. Alexa Knierim/Brandon Frazier — 81.96
2. Emily Chan/Spencer Howe — 66.86
3. Ellie Kam/Danny O’Shea —- 65.75
4. Valentina Plazas/Maximiliano Fernandez — 63.45
5. Sonia Baram/Danil Tioumentsev —- 63.12
6. Katie McBeath/Nathan Bartholomay —- 56.96
7. Nica Digerness/Mark Sadusky — 50.72
8. Maria Mokhova/Ivan Mokhov —- 46.96
9. Grace Hanns / Danny Neudecker — 46.81
10. Linzy Fitzpatrick/Keyton Bearinger — 45.27
11. Nina Ouellette/Rique Newby-Estrella — 43.99

Rhythm Dance
1. Madison Chock/Evan Bates — 91.90
2. Caroline Green/Michael Parsons — 81.40
3. Emilea Zingas/Vadym Kolesnik — 78.18
4. Christina Carreira/Anthony Ponomarenko — 77.37
5. Lorraine McNamara/Anton Spiridonov — 76.23
6. Emily Bratti/Ian Somerville — 75.91
7. Eva Pate/Logan Bye — 75.52
8. Isabella Flores/Ivan Desyatov — 73.91
9. Oona Brown/Gage Brown — 72.80
10. Katarina Wolfkostin/Jeffrey Chen — 69.05
11. Angela Ling/Caleb Wein — 68.53
12. Leah Krauskopf/YuanShi Jin — 52.59
13. Cara Murphy/Joshua Levitt — 50.88
14. Caroline Depietri/TJ Carey — 48.28
WD. Raffaella Koncius/Alexey Shchepetov

FIGURE SKATING NATIONALS: Broadcast Schedule | New Era for U.S.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!