Sport and motherhood. Is there a new code?

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Lucia Santiago

Madrid, 30 jun (EFE).- When the sport review its history, as it has done in Time magazine, in the special ‘100 women of the year’, it is likely that the profile of Serena Williams to emerge as the name dominant. For the record that he built after spending part of his childhood in a slum of Los Angeles and for his commitment away from the lines that mark out the pitch.

Many times it has raised its voice against racism or in favour of equality, which has earned to be considered one of the icons of his time. And is that, beyond Coconut Gauff or Naomi Osaka -two of the new realities of professional tennis-, thousands of women around the world have been left to inspire us.



Serena Williams is a time, mother, tennis player and businesswoman. The reconciliation is not easy. In fact, confesses to feeling “exhausted and stressed”, with little Alexis Olympia in her arms, while waiting for the turn to jump to the track.

“Then I have to go out to play and I am feeling inspired by all these women who do it every day,” mused a few weeks ago, in his profile of Instagram.

There are still few athletes who have decided to cross the threshold of motherhood. Even fewer that have done it two times, as Amy Rodriguez.

Of the hand of his two sons, the footballer of the Utah Royals tends to lengthen the minutes on the lawn of the stadium Rio Tinto once they finish their matches. Spontaneously, they give an endless amount of fondling.

“The truth is that me in that picture makes me smile,” says the seen during one of these moments of complicity with your children. “Shows Me in the role of a mother player,” stresses in a conversation with EFE from Salt Lake City.

Motherhood requires you to adapt your training schedule. The strip is variable. A few days exercising at 5 in the morning; others, to 10 of the night.

“Prepare requires a lot of discipline and a lot of dedication,” recalls Amy Rodriguez.

This extra effort, however, compensate the footballer-american by the “new perspective” that he has offered about the competition and of itself.



“Now I feel much more relaxed in the field. I feel stronger and more empowered than ever. Thanks to this experience, I know that I can do anything I put my mind to if I work hard. I am also more accommodating to me when things don’t turn out right the first time”, she adds.

The athlete Spanish Anna Comet, he shares his vision: “What has changed is the organization and the time you have. I, for example, I’ve become more demanding in the day-to-day. It has to fit everything that I did before, with a toddler in the middle”.

She tends to train and work in the morning. “In the afternoons I coordinate with my husband and we alternate, one day each, to be with the child and work. So we can enjoy the dwarf and do our things,” he added.

Established that covenant before the birth of Gil, to Anna Comet could continue his successful sporting career.

“Now come a few more years to compete at the top. I’m having a good time on a sporting level and professional and I want to take advantage of it. Then, we’ll see if we go for another”, joked the winner of the marathon of Transgrancanaria.

The return of Anna Comet to the sport has been “very positive”, with victories and podiums of prestige, that have earned her the call of the Spanish selection a few months after giving birth. The Catalan attributed to the “physiological adaptations and psychological” that has been experienced after pregnancy.



“In my case, I do not know other women, I have noticed a major improvement in how I manage on a psychological level the pressure. The anxiety that I used to have before, now I don’t have that. This has made me to be patient, train well, and that is reflected in the results. On an emotional level, being a mother has taken me a lot of pressure, because the priorities change a lot. I am enjoying like never before,” he reveals.

Comet is one of the athletes that have benefited from the line of subsidies which the Directorate General Women and Sport, CSD offers in Spain “by birth, adoption or foster care (among other social benefits, such as balancing work and family and education) to women who have the consideration of high-level athletes”. “The aid consists of a direct payment of € 3,000 to each high-level athlete who has been a mother in the year immediately prior to the announcement. In 2019, were granted this aid to 9 women. In 2018, to 12 athletes,” reported EFE sources of the Superior Council of Sports.

The case of the canoeists Teresa Portela or Maialen Chourraut have contributed to normalize a reality that seemed to be reserved for after the sporting life, while other voices are still considered to be incompatible with the motherhood and the sport.



“In my case, for the sport that I do, by how dangerous it is”, pointing to the rider Laia Sanz. “I could not go to the Dakar having a son or a daughter at home. The moment you decide to be a mother, as a minimum, aparcaré a time of my career,” he warns.

To that stop imposed by the pregnancy added to the sailor Blanca Manchon their outrage at the loss of some of their sponsors.

“The problem is not that a company ‘X’ to remove a sponsorship by an absence of competition for pregnancy. There are further more, and increase awareness of the peculiarities of the sport as feminine. And to understand that in those moments is when more support is needed an athlete who lives his profession with a normal salary”, demand the andalusian.

“I can understand that a company doesn’t see profitability in that circumstance, and remove and not renew support. That’s why I think that the problem is deeper. On how to understand women’s sport. It does not equate to the male. Neither better, nor worse. Different. Therefore, the treatment has to be different. Not to encourage, at all, but understand that it is a profession where your best years sporting match with the best to be a mother. There is that look that is compatible. The human species depends on it,” says Manchon.



His rebellion against this injustice was amplified by the voice of the american athlete Allyson Felix. Got that Nike would change its policy of reducing payments to their athletes during the pregnancy. The multinational is already part of the new current that has implemented provisions of the maternity protection in the contracts.

“In that aspect, I suffered a bit to see what would happen, but the truth is that all my sponsors have been ported really well. Is what you have to do, huh?”, says Anna Comet.

“In one of the contracts, for example, in the case of pregnancy they gave me 30 months to get back; on the other, stipulated that it would not be a reason to terminate it. It is important that we start to have specific clauses to be quiet on this,” he insists.

The first collective agreement for the players of the First Spanish Division -“that is not yet published in the Official Bulletin of the State because UGT what challenged,” recall sources of the CSD – includes the stage of the pregnancy. The text specifies that when the player is in the last season of contract, the contract must be extended on the same terms for one year.

“It is true that pregnancy is something that the players are not coming to raise, not only because there was no convention to protect and favoring of that decision but because the job instability and precariousness of the wages imposibilitaban that consider having a child. At the end, did not have the means to cope with what it means to be a mother. Therefore, beyond the inclusion of a specific clause that protects the pregnancy, it is important that you have regular employment status and that it has increased the wage up to an amount of something more dignified, although it is true that rondamos the 12,000-16,000 euros (annual gross)”, reason, the delegate of the Association of Spanish Footballers (AFE), Tania Tabanera.



In this new horizon, the Spanish football awaits, in his words, “its a pioneer, the first professional player to break the barrier and bias-initial”.

What did Alex Morgan when, pregnant for several months and a pot belly emerging, shared videos of their workouts. To arrive in full form to the Tokyo Olympics 2020, now postponed to the summer of 2021. You will have one more year of leeway to prepare after having welcomed her first daughter last may 7.

“The image of Alex Morgan training pregnant reflects the professionalism of the athletes reaches all the areas and the pregnancy is one more. Alex Morgan demonstrates that, even in a situation of pregnancy, is able to maintain a routine that is appropriate for the favor to return as soon as possible; of course, without running any risk. The career of the athlete is very short, everyone wants to squeeze the most out of their years in the elite, without leaving to the margin the reconciliation of the family. The athletes want to lead a family life parallel that can be enriching, but at the same time they are professionals and are going to try to work up to the last day of pregnancy which can to return as soon as possible”, concludes Tabanera.

In recent years, however, it happens to the returns of gold. Mothers athletes remain champions. What maternity or sport? Why choose? EFE

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