Top 10 – Athlete Moms
To celebrate Mother’s Day this Sunday, we are checking out some of the best mothers to play their respective sports. Here are some of the most impressive women to balance their personal and professional lives.
- Juli Inkster
As an amateur, Inkster won three consecutive U.S. Women’s Amateur titles. When she went pro, she won two majors and rookie of the year. After having two little ones, it took a little while to get back into the swing of things (pun intended), but six years later she would have the best year of her career. She won two majors and finished second on the money list. In 2000, Juli was inducted in to the LPGA Hall of Fame, then went on to win majors that year and in 2002.
- Jennie Finch
The most popular softball player in the US, Finch was a three-time All-American at Arizona and won gold in 2004 with eight shutout innings. She had her son in 2006, and in her first game back she recorded 12 strikeouts in 5.2 innings and went on to win the 2006 ISF World Championship.
- Tina Thompson
First overall pick in the first draft ever for the WNA – there’s an honor no one will ever be able to claim as well. During in time in the pros before becoming a mother, Tina led her team to four straight league titles and five All-Star games. Two months after giving birth, she was back on the court. She is second only to Lisa Leslie in all-time scoring and has a gold medal from her time in the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
- Kim Clijsters
“The Mother of all Comebacks” is a fitting headline for Kim. Having retired due to injury and wanting to start a family, she came back in 2009 to win the U.S. Open, beating Serena Williams in the semis and Caroline Wozniacki in the finals.
- Kristine Lilly
Here’s a quick list of how awesome Lilly is: only woman in an all-male professional indoor soccer league, founding member of the Boston Breakers of the Women’s United Soccer Association, played every minute of every game in the inaugural season, led the league in assists, won four NCAA championships, one FIFA Women’s World Cup, and two Olympic gold medals. She missed a third gold to give birth to her daughter and is now back with the Boston Breakers.
- Paula Radcliffe
As one of the greatest long-distance runners of all time, she owns the best time in 4 out of 5 of the best women’s marathons, including the world record of 2:15:25 set in 2003. She returned to running after giving birth in 2007, starting with the New York City Marathon. She won. If it wasn’t for a series of unfortunate injuries, Paula Radcliffe would probably have gotten that 5th best time.
- Jenny Potter
As a mother of two and professional hockey player, Jenny Potter is a certified superhero. In her first two games in the 2010 Winter Olympics, she pulled off back-to-back hat tricks. At 31, she was the only mom on the team. Three months after her second, she helped her team win silver in the World Championships in 2007 and 2010 Olympics.
- Christie Rampone
Her soccer accolades alone put Christie Rampone in the conversation for top female athletes to ever play the game. On the U.S. women’s national team since 1997, college and pro star, and played in three Women’s World Cups and three Olympics. After having her first child in 2005, Rampone came back to the team and would eventually be named captain. The team would win gold that year in Beijing. For her pro team, Christie was not only the captain, but also named the coach in the middle of the season. As coach and captain, she led her team and won the 2009 WPS Championship.
- Candace Parker
A two-time NCAA champion with the Lady Vols, first overall pick by the LA Sparks, Rookie of the Year and League MVP in her first season, and AP Female Athlete of the Year, Candace Parker is a phenom in her own rights. Seven weeks after having her daughter in 2009, Parker led the Sparks to the conference finals and averaged a double-double in the playoffs.
- Dara Torres
Before even being a mother, Dara Torres is easily one of the greatest female athletes ever. From 1984-2000, she competed in four Olympics as a swimmer, collecting 4 gold, 1 silver, and 4 bronze medals. She gave birth to her daughter in 2006, then got back in the pool at the Masters Nationals three weeks later. That’s not the crazy part. At the Nationals, she broke a world record. 14 months later, she broke her own American record in the 50 freestyle to win another national title. Oh there’s more – Torres made it to her 5th Olympics in Beijing where she competed in three races, winning silver in each. Dara Torres was twice the age of the other competitors, a mother, and was the first woman over the age of 40 to swim in the Olympics.