“[F]or the eagle eyed among you who have done the maths...yep, I was pregnant at the Tokyo Olympics,” the 27-year-old from Cardiff, Wales, wrote on social media.
She and her partner “really can’t believe how lucky we are and are so excited for the next part of our lives to begin,” she wrote on Instagram, going on to thank cyclists Lizzie Deignan, Laura Kenny and Sarah Storey — all of whom are mothers — for their support.
“Because of these women (and many more) I didn’t doubt the future of my career for one second. I’d always been in awe of what they’ve each achieved since becoming parents, but only recently have I fully understood the full power of what each of them has done,” Barker added. “I’d also like to thank @unoxteam and @britishcycling for not hesitating to offer their full support. I’m fully aware that I’d be in a totally different situation if this had happened just a few years ago, and I’m so grateful for the difference that visibility for athlete mothers has made.”
Motherhood increasingly is becoming a natural component of competition for female athletes rather than something they must forgo. In Tokyo, at least a dozen moms competed for Team USA, including Allyson Felix, Alex Morgan and Diana Taurasi — some of the most accomplished female athletes of their era. Countless others competed for other teams, and the International Olympic Committee, after pleas from athletes and public health officials, allowed athletes who are nursing mothers to bring their infants with them to Tokyo.
Like Barker, Williams was in the early stages of pregnancy when she competed in the 2017 Australian Open, winning her 23rd and most recent Grand Slam singles title.