Pregnant Olympians

Serena Williams announced yesterday (19 April 2017) that she was pregnant and was likely pregnant during her dominant Australian Open victory in January. Amazing. Below is an updated version of our “Pregnant Olympians” post from 2014.


Addendum for 21 April 2017 – Olympic Channel today posted a video on pregnant Olympians, starting with Fanny Blankers-Koen. We used to have Blankers-Koen in this list, based on a rumor we had heard, but deleted her and think the Olympic Channel has it wrong in this case. Per Jeroen Heijmans, our Dutch member of the OlyMADMen, “Fanny had two children, Jan Jr. (ca. 1941) and Fanny Jr. (ca. 1946).” So we’re fairly certain she was not pregnant at the 1948 Olympics, unless she lost the child.


Have any Olympians ever competed while pregnant? Yes, as you would suspect. It has happened 18 times that we know of, although with this sort of topic, its difficult to know with precision. Witness to that fact is that Kerri Walsh did not know she was pregnant in 2012 until after the Olympics ended. The following list details the 18 times we know it has occurred.

Note that in 2012 at London, Malaysian shooter Nur Suryani Mohd Taibi competed while 34 weeks pregnant – making her the “most pregnant Olympian” of all-time.

Athlete NOC Sport Era Notes
Lisa Brown-Miller USA ICH 1998 Unknowingly pregnant during the 1998 Winter Olympics with her first child Alex.
Anky van Grunsven NED EQU 1988-2012 5 months pregnant when she won a gold medal in 2004.
DeAnne Hemmens USA CAN 1996 2 months pregnant in 1996.
Anna-Maria Johansson SWE HAN 2012 3 months pregnant in 2012.
Magda Julin SWE FSK 1920 3 months pregnant in 1920.
Amelie Kober GER SNB 2006-2014 2 months pregnant in 2010.
Kateřina Kůrková-Emmons CZE SHO 2004-2012 1 month pregnant in 2008.
Kristie Moore CAN CUR 2010 5 months pregnant in 2010.
Mara Navarria ITA FEN 2012 Discovered after London Olympics that she was in early pregnancy during the Games.
Cornelia Pfohl GER ARC 1992-2004 In early pregnancy (daughter Mara) when she won a bronze medal in 2000 and 7 months pregnant in 2004. Daughter Roselinda born only 57 days after her last Olympic event.
Kim Rhode USA SHO 1996-2016 Discovered weeks after London Olympics that she was in early pregnancy.
Diana Sartor GER SKE 2002-06 9 weeks pregnant in 2006.
Anita Spring AUS BVO 1996 4 weeks pregnant in 1996.
Juno Stover-Irwin USA DIV 1948-60 3½ months pregnant when she won a bronze medal in 1952.
Kerstin Szymkowiak GER SKE 2010 2 months pregnant when she won a silver medal in 2010.
Nur Suryani Mohd Taibi MAS SHO 2012 34 weeks pregnant in 2012.
Martina Valcepina ITA STK 2014 1 month pregnant with twins during the Sochi Olympics.
Kerri Walsh USA BVO/VOL 2000-2012 1 month pregnant in 2012 (not known until after the Olympics).


See also

Note: Updated mid-June 2014 after receiving information from Gazzetta dello Sport reporter Andrea Buongiovanni about the pregnancies of Navarria and Valcepina.

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