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Mother's Day: Celebrating moms who are athletes

Happy Mother's Day. And what better way to celebrate Mother's Day than by celebrating moms who were athletic stars? We take a look at some of our favorite athlete moms.

Dara Torres

For starters, to do what she did at age 41 was incredible. It's almost unbelievable that she did it just two years after having a child. Swimming against competitors more than half her age, Torres set an American record and won a silver medal in the 50-meter freestyle at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. She won two more silvers in relay events. Torres' Olympic medal count stands at 12, including four golds, but none were more impressive than the three silvers she won after having a child.

Jennie Finch

After being named an All-American three times and being named national player of the year while at Arizona, Finch already was considered by many to be the best pitcher in softball history. Her dominating performance in Athens helped the Americans to a gold medal in the 2004 Olympics. Then in May 2006, Finch and baseball-playing husband Casey Daigle welcomed a son, appropriately named Ace. The birth of a child did not end Finch's career. She returned to lead the United States to the gold medal in the Pan-Am Games in 2007 and was a member of the 2008 Olympic team that won a silver medal.

Paula Radcliffe

One of the world's most celebrated long-distance runners won her share of big races, including the New York City, London and Chicago marathons, as well as setting world record times. Her running style and winning ways made her England's favorite daughter. She then became a mom, giving birth to her first child in January 2007. Yet in 2008, she won the New York City marathon for the third time.

Nancy Lopez

For a brief spell in the late 1970s and early 1980s, Lopez's name was on the short list of the greatest female golfers of all time. In 1978, she became the first player to be named rookie of the year and player of the year in the same season. In 1983, Lopez and husband Ray Knight, a major-league baseball player, welcomed the first of three children. In her first full year back, 1985, Lopez won the money title and another player of the year award. She was named player of the year again in 1988 after having her second child. Even after having a third child, Lopez, despite playing a limited schedule so she could raise her daughters with Knight, won on the women's tour.

Lindsay Davenport

She emerged on the women's tennis scene as a 16-year-old and eventually won the U.S. Open, Wimbledon and Australian Open. For times over her career, beginning in 1998, she finished the year ranked No. 1. By 2007, Davenport became just the eighth woman to win 700 singles matches before announcing that she would take a break to have a child with husband Jon Leach. Davenport returned in 2007 and won two more tournaments. She continued to play in 2008 and was all set to play the Australian Open in January, but she withdrew. Why? Because she is pregnant again. She is due in June.

Christie Rampone

When you think of American women's soccer, usually what comes to mind are players Mia Hamm and Brandi Chastain and that 1999 World Cup team. But Rampone really has become a legendary name in U.S. women's soccer. She has played 200 international matches and is the team captain. She has represented the United States in three Olympics (2000, 2004, 2008), winning two golds and a silver. And, yep, she's a mom. She gave birth to a daughter in September 2005.

Kate Markgraf

A defender on the U.S. women's soccer team, she helped the Americans win a silver medal in the 2000 Sydney Games and a gold in the 2004 Athens Games. In between, she was named defender of the year in the Women's United Soccer Association. In July 2006, she and former college soccer player Chris Markgraf welcomed their first child. Two years later, at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Markgraf helped the United States to a gold medal. She has continued to play professionally in Europe and was to play in the U.S. Women's Professional Soccer inaugural season but is on another break because she is pregnant.

Sheryl Swoopes

After putting together one of the greatest college basketball careers ever at Texas Tech, Swoopes joined the Houston Comets of the WNBA in 1997 only six weeks after giving birth to a son. She led the Comets to the WNBA title and went on to rack up 4,604 points, 1,460 rebounds, 961 assists and 632 steals, while becoming the first three-time MVP in league history. She won four WNBA titles overall and was named defensive player of the year three times. Oh, yeah, she also won three Olympic gold medals — two after becoming a mom.

Lisa Leslie

When men have children in sports, they miss a game or two. When a woman has a child, she misses a season. That's what happened to Leslie, one of the greatest female basketball players ever. She once scored 101 points in a game in high school, was a three-time All-American at USC and made history by dunking in a WNBA game. Her resume is full of MVP awards, championships and gold medals. But, sticking with our theme, Leslie took off the 2007 season to have a child. After that, she padded her career by winning yet another Olympic gold medal (her fourth) and WNBA defensive player of the year award.

Mother's Day: Celebrating moms who are athletes 05/09/09 [Last modified: Saturday, May 9, 2009 7:29pm]

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