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nia ali

Gold Medalist Nia Ali Wants Wins After Baby to Inspire Female Athletes

nia ali with son 2016
nia ali 2019 world hurdle champ with kids

nia ali 2019 world hurdle champ with kids

Motherhood took center stage again at the World Athletics Championships  when US Gold Medaling hurdler Nia Ali celebrated her win in the Women’s 100 meter hurdles with her two children 4-year-old son Titus and 16-month-old daughter Yuri  who joined her victory lap in Doha, Qatar, Sunday, Oct. 6, 2019.

She is the latest among several elite Track and Field athletes this year and in recent years to have major comebacks after having a baby to win prizes and spots on top of the winners’ podium. Their wins echo the great successes of  FIFA World Cup champion US Women’s Soccer Team and new mom Tennis Champ Serena Williams proving that female athletes can do it all, despite some who insist they retire after motherhood.

Ali hopes her medals after baby sends a message to other female Track athletes.

nia ali with son 2016

In 2016, after winning the Silver Medal, Ali tlalked about  how men can build their families and continue training and  winning “without missing a beat”. She said she wants to encourage women to do the same and know that having a family “is also a very important part of  your life…it can also make you a stronger competitor” and “build your character.”

She added, of motherhood: “It has made me stronger, has given me more dedication, and who knows if I had this edge had I not had a child last  year….I want more women to embrace having a family and not look at it as a burden or it might throw them off their game, or they won’t come back.”

Boy has this crop of champions proven wrong the perception that mother hood is a career killer in track and field.

Felix, who became a mother last November, also won gold last weekend in the new event, mixed relay, and now has 13 total – two more than the record she shared with Jamaica’s Usain Bolt.

His country mate Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce of Jamaica also won two golds. China’s Liu Hong picked up a gold in the race walk and  Alysia Montano, a mother of two who was part of the Nike movement along with Felix, went to the Championships to collect two bronze medals reallocated to her following 2011 and 2013 doping scandals from 2011 and 2013.

“When I found out I was pregnant, I was a wreck… people asked me to retire gracefully,” Fraser-Pryce said in a post win interview.

In a new Associated Press article, Ali told one story about having to break from training in Europe recently so she could head home for a parent-teacher conference for Titus, who is in preschool.

“It was important for me to be there and get a good feel of what he’s going to have to go through this year,” Ali said.

Ali’s boyfriend is Canadian sprinter Andre De Grasse.

Year After Pregnancy Sidetrack, Nia Ali wins Olympics Silver 

“Being a mom and an elite athlete is difficult, but it’s very rewarding. I wouldn’t have it any other way,” said brand new Rio Olympics 100 meter hurdles silver medalist, Nia Ali, one year after a surprise pregnancy sidetracked her professional track career.

The 27-year old and her teammates gold medalist Brianna  Rollins and bronze medalist Kriari Castlin swept the podium. It was the first sweep of any category in US Track & Field history.

The road to Rio was bumpy for the new mom who only have birth to her son Titus Maximus in summer of 2015.

Way before welcoming her first child, she was shaken when, in 2009, while a sophomore at USC, her dad killed himself in a murder suicide. He shot the woman he was involved with in front of her 11-year old daughter before turning the gun on himself. The tragedy messed her up in academics and athletics.

But she overcame it and didn’t let an unplanned pregnancy sidetrack her for long either.

After taking a year off from competition following the birth of her son, the Philly native returned to win the 2016 World Indoor Championships and successfully defend her gold medal. After winning, she carried her son on the victory lap. Now, he is an expected and welcome fixture on the track after each of mom’s wins.

nia ali portland

He’s almost like the Riley Curry of track.  Ali is a wonderful poster-child for mom athletes and is inspirational.

Young Titus was a blessing and pregnancy was not career suicide. Ali was determined to not make it so.  As IAAF reported:

“It’s one of those things when you know it’s great”, said Ali, who always wanted to have a lot of kids, especially coming from a family with 25 siblings. “But in our sport, it’s considered a career suicide. I was 26 and I wanted to make the best of it. And immediately, I started looking forward to defending my world indoor title in 2016.”

After maintaining her usual training regimen for the first four months of pregnancy, Ali went back from Los Angeles to her family in Philadelphia and decided to relax.

“I talked to Jasmine Chaney (the US 400m hurdler), who’d just had a baby, and she told me: you should take it all in. I followed the advice, as I knew once I got back, there was going to be some serious training, and I wanted to be ready for it.”

They also wrote about her excellent support system:

The now twice world indoor champion was thrilled that her son Titus was actually there to witness her triumph.

“I don’t take him to the track too often when I train, because I haven’t mastered that whole ‘focusing when he’s around’ thing,” she laughed. “I get into a parent mode too quickly. Unless my mom or his father (400m hurdler Michael Tinsley) are there, I can’t focus.

“I love my son, love coming back home after long days. It puts what I do on the track in a perspective, and I have an amazing support system that helps make it happen. I can’t take the full credit.”

And that support system was right there in the stands witnessing Ali make history.

Good stuff! Congrats, mama!

Photo: Getty, screen shot, Wiki Commons

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