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Balancing Parenthood and Olympic Dreams: Insights from 4 Pro Athletes



Elle St. Pierre, a middle-distance runner and Tokyo Olympian, faced a challenge in competing at the 2022 World Indoor Championships when she failed to reach the finals in the 1,500 meters. Shortly after the competition, she revealed that the reason for not feeling like herself was because she was eight weeks pregnant with her son, Ivan. St. Pierre expressed that she always knew she wanted to become a mother and was grateful for the support of other athletes who had returned to professional racing after having children, such as Molly Huddle, Rachel Smith, Brenda Martinez, and Abby (D’Agostino) Cooper.

After Ivan was born in March 2023, St. Pierre found camaraderie and support among her fellow professional runner moms, particularly bonding with Abby Cooper during a training camp in Flagstaff, Arizona. The two women shared a similar schedule of wanting to be close to their babies after workouts, which helped St. Pierre feel less isolated in her experience as a competitor and a mother. St. Pierre also acknowledged the importance of her family’s support in balancing her busy life, as they provided childcare assistance while she focused on her training and racing.

With a strong support system in place, St. Pierre made a successful return to racing after giving birth. She competed in events like the 5th Avenue Mile, the Millrose Games, and the World Indoor Championships, where she set a new American record in the 3,000 meters. St. Pierre shared that her family’s unwavering belief in her ability to come back to racing after pregnancy contributed significantly to her success. She expressed gratitude for their support and credited them for being instrumental in her achievements on the track.

As a professional runner and a mother, St. Pierre exemplifies the growing trend of women athletes returning to elite competition after having children. With the support of her family and fellow runner moms, she has been able to navigate the challenges of balancing training and motherhood. St. Pierre’s story serves as inspiration for other female athletes who may be considering starting a family while pursuing their athletic dreams, showing that it is possible to excel in both areas with the right support system in place.

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