Olympic moms: 13 mothers compete for Team USA

The “Celebrating Moms” series of commercials by Proctor & Gamble during Olympic coverage is a tear-jerking ode to sacrifices mothers make to support their kids’ athletic careers. But what about athletes who are mothers, themselves?

Elite athlete moms have the same run-of-the-mill work/life balance as the rest of us. But these 13 Olympic moms do put parenting – both its challenges and rewards – in a new perspective.

4. Kara Goucher – Marathon

Clint Austin/Duluth News-Tribune/AP
Kara Goucher carries her son Colt as she runs down the course while celebrating after winning the women's US Half Marathon Championship in Canal Park in Duluth, Minn., on June 16, 2012.

Marathon runner Kara Goucher said that getting back into competitive shape after she gave birth to her son Colt in 2010 was tough, even though she ran during her pregnancy.

“It took a full year before I felt like myself again," she told Redbook magazine. "I'd see all these celebrities who lost the weight so quickly, but I couldn't lose the last five pounds – and I run over 100 miles a week! What was even harder was getting back into the competitive mind-set. I ran when I was pregnant, but the No. 1 rule is to never push yourself. I had to relearn how to push through the pain.”

In 2011, Ms. Goucher set a personal best record at the Boston Marathon, placing third.

However, at the 2012 London Olympics, Goucher placed 11th in the marathon on Aug. 5, just three minutes behind gold medalist Gelena Tiki of Ethiopia, and 16 seconds behind her teammate and training partner Shalane Flanagan.

This is Goucher’s second Olympics, but she switched events: She competed in the 5,000- and 10,000-meter races in Beijing in 2008, but in London she was all marathon.

Goucher started running in seventh grade, joining her middle school cross-country team. Running for the University of Colorado, where she majored in psychology, Goucher won the NCAA cross country championship as well as the outdoor 3,000-meter and 5,000-meter races in 2000.

Goucher went on to compete professionally, hitting her stride in 2006 when she placed second in the 5,000-meter at the US Outdoor Championship. In 2007, she placed third in the 10,000-meter in the World Outdoor Championship. She is a three-time national outdoor 10,000-meter runner-up (2007, 2008, and 2011). Goucher made history in 2008 when she placed third in the New York City Marathon with a time of 2:25:53, the fastest marathon debut ever by an American woman. It was also the first time in 14 years that an American woman placed in the top three.

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