Fierce: pregnant Serena Williams, the Ice Tiger, and the marathon runner who delivered her baby after the finish line
The greatest of all time proved there were no boundaries unbreakable to women when she won the Australian Open final with a bun in the oven. Fans went crazy. Serena slayed again.
Williams is living, breathing proof that women are not weak and aren’t the “fairer sex”.
But the rest of the world needs to catch up to this because women definitely aren’t as recognised as men, especially in sport. It’s not a difficult conclusion to come to. When last did you look at the sports pages in any popular newspaper?
The tumbling antics of male soccer players get more airtime than any of the spectacular achievements by a multitude of female athletes.
Williams is already almost halfway through her pregnancy. Since her Australian Open win, in which she did not drop a single set, she is regaining her status of the No. 1 player on the women’s ranking.
According to the rules, after she gives birth, this ranking will be held for her for 12 months as long as she returns back to the professional circuit. Imagine? You win this championship while pregnant.
You make no noise, you become number one in the world again for the umpteenth time, and then you take up to a year off to first push a whole new human out of your body – a strain I can almost guarantee the athlete’s body has not had to face before.
I don’t doubt though that the power of Serena will grand slam the birth of her child as well.
And then, because you’re so undeniably good, after facing the challenge of being a mother, another top position and huge challenge in the world, you return to the court as number one.
Show me a man who can fake a fall while playing football while carrying a foetus in his tummy? If you find one, I guarantee it will be a four page spread in the paper.
In a world where male athletes are the main course and sportswomen only ever a sprinkling of pepper, let us take a minute to thank Williams for reminding us how remarkable women are, and use this as an opportunity to recognise other women in sport who have achieved the same.
Here’s a list of just a few:
- In 2014, five-time US national track champion Alysia Montaño finished an 800m qualifying round in 2 minutes and 32 seconds – an astounding time for any athlete. The clincher? Montaño was 34 weeks pregnant and scheduled to give birth just 7 weeks later.
- Nur Suryani Mohammed Taibi, a Malaysian sports shooter holds the record for being the most pregnant woman to participate in the Olympics. The rifle shooter was eight months pregnant when she competed in the 2012 Olympics.
- Skeleton racing is a winter sport and involves a person riding a bobsled down a frozen track while lying face down. German athlete Kerstin Szymkowiak, who is also known as the Ice Tiger, won a silver medal while competing at the 2010 Games in Vancouver while two months pregnant.
- In 2011, Amber Miller ran the 2011 Chicago marathon. After a race time of 6.5 hours, Miller lay down and gave birth to a healthy, strong baby.
There are many more, but I want to take this opportunity to give a special shout out to the women out there who are skateboarders, surfers, weightlifters or ballerinas who prove that pregnancy does not mean “you can’t” in a world according to men.