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Alex Morgan’s Olympic return from pregnancy supported by new U.S. soccer coach

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NEW YORK — New U.S. women’s soccer coach Vlatko Andonovski and general manager Kate Markgraf are already taking steps to support Alex Morgan‘s goal to return from an April due date and make the Olympic team as a mom to play in late July.

“The most important thing is to have a healthy pregnancy and deliver a healthy baby,” Andonovski said in a press conference to introduce him as Jill Ellis‘ successor. “When she does that, we’re going to do everything in our power, use the resources that the federation is providing, whether it’s high-performance director, staff, anything that we can do on our side to help her get back for the Olympics.”

Morgan, a star forward on the last five combined Olympic and World Cup teams, said on Wednesday that she is pregnant and due in April, three months before the Tokyo Games.

A source close to Morgan then said that her goal is to come back from childbirth to make her third Olympic team.

Markgraf, who came back from childbirth to make her third and final Olympic team in 2008, said she texted Morgan the name of the trainer who helped her return.

“As a former player that gave birth twice during my career, I know that the first thing on your mind is just having a healthy baby, so that is really where I positioned the conversation [with Morgan] the entire time,” she said. “I was like, let me know what I can do to help. Just stay healthy. Don’t worry about anything else other than having a healthy baby, and then we’ll have a conversation. … Give everybody the best chance to be their best is what we try to do.”

Morgan will miss the U.S.’ Olympic qualifying tournament, but that wouldn’t normally rule her out of the Olympic roster consideration.

In 2016, three players who were not part of qualifying were chosen for the Olympic roster — Megan Rapinoe (missed qualifying with an ACL tear), Whitney Engen and Allie Long.

The 2020 Olympic team selection procedures have not been published on U.S. Soccer’s website, but for the 2012 and 2016 Games, the head coach had final say in composition of the 18-player team. The World Cup roster size is 23.

Joy FawcettChristie RamponeCarla Overbeck and Markgraf made Olympic teams as moms, all doing so at least one year after childbirths.

MORE: Rio Olympic women’s soccer champions fail to qualify for Tokyo

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Alex Morgan is pregnant, still eyes Tokyo Olympics

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Alex Morgan, a star forward on the last two U.S. Olympic soccer teams, is pregnant and due with her first child, a girl, in April, three months before the Tokyo Games, according to her social media.

A source close to Morgan said, after the pregnancy announcement, that her goal is to play at the Olympics. Morgan has not stated her intention publicly either way since the announcement.

Morgan, 30, married fellow pro soccer player Servando Carrasco on New Year’s Eve 2014.

Morgan co-led the U.S. in goals at this summer’s World Cup (six) and the Rio Olympics (two), where the Americans were eliminated by Sweden in the quarterfinals.

Morgan also scored three goals in her Olympic debut at the 2012 London Games, including the game winner in the 123rd minute of a 4-3 semifinal overtime win against Canada.

Morgan would not be the first mom to play on a U.S. Olympic soccer team.

Defender Joy Fawcett played every minute of the 1995, 1999 and 2003 World Cups and the 1996 and 2000 Olympics as a mom. Carla Overbeck became a mom before making her second Olympic team in 2000, though she did not play in any matches in Australia.

Most recently, Kate Markgraf played in the 2008 Olympics as a mom, and Christie Pearce Rampone did so in 2008 and 2012.

MORE: Rio Olympic women’s soccer champions fail to qualify for Tokyo

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Caster Semenya leads Olympians in Time 100; streak hits 16 years

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An Olympian has made the Time 100 Most Influential list every year since its annual inception in 2004. South African runner Caster Semenya, soccer players Alex Morgan and Mo Salah and LeBron James kept the streak going in 2019.

It’s the fourth appearance for James (2005, 2013, 2017), extending his record for an athlete, and the first for Semenya, Morgan and Salah. Semenya made it in the “icons” category, while the other three are “titans.”

Two-time Olympic 400m hurdles champion Edwin Moses penned an essay about the two-time Olympic 800m champion Semenya, who is fighting a legal battle with the IAAF over a potential rule change limiting women’s testosterone levels in her events. If the rule goes into effect, Semenya’s dominance (three years undefeated at 800m) is expected to vanish.

“Caster Semenya has taught us that sex isn’t always binary, and caused us to question the justness of distributing societal benefits according to “male” and “female” classifications,” Moses wrote. “Ultimately, this incredibly difficult issue is a political one for sport to resolve. But however it is addressed, Semenya will have already made a singular historical contribution to our understanding of biological sex.”

Here are Olympians and Paralympians on past Time 100 lists, counting only athletes who competed in the Games before being listed:

2018 — Kevin Durant, Roger Federer, Chloe Kim, Adam Rippon
2017 — Simone Biles, LeBron James, Neymar
2016 — Usain BoltCaitlyn JennerKatie LedeckySania MirzaRonda Rousey
2015 — Abby Wambach
2014 — Cristiano Ronaldo, Serena Williams
2013 — LeBron James, Li Na, Lindsey Vonn
2012 — Novak DjokovicLionel MessiOscar Pistorius
2011 — Lionel Messi
2010 — Yuna KimSerena Williams
2009 — Rafael Nadal
2008 — Andre Agassi, Lance Armstrong, Oscar Pistorius
2007 — Roger FedererChien Ming-Wang
2006 — Joey CheekSteve Nash
2005 — LeBron James
2004 — Lance Armstrong, Paula Radcliffe, Yao Ming
2000 (20th Century) — Muhammad Ali

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