Oh baby, let’s take a shot: the pregnant Olympian
It’s not unusual for an Olympic athlete to get a case of the butterflies. Nervousness can make the stomach flip and twitch. But when Olympic shooter Nur Suryani Mohd Taibi felt the kicks in her belly during the 10-meter air rifle event on Saturday, it wasn’t the butterflies – it was her baby.
Mohd Taibi is due to give birth to a daughter in September.
The 29-year-old competing for Malaysia found out she was pregnant just days after qualifying for her country’s Olympic team. She is one of several pregnant woman to compete in the history of the Games but is definitely the farthest along.
The baby was kicking “three or four times” during the 75-minute qualifying round of the 10-meter air rifle event Saturday, Mohd Taibi said.
When asked if the kicking upset her timing, the mom-to-be replied, “It didn’t put me off. I told her, be a good girl, be calm, and don’t move so much.” Did the baby listen?
“Yep,” Mohd Taibi said. “She always listens to me.”
Mohd Taibi will find out soon enough that 2-year-olds and teenagers don’t always listen.
It was Mohd Taibi’s own willfulness as a little girl that got her into the sport. Mohd Taibi’s father was the manager of a shooting range, and she would not leave her father alone until he let her shoot.
It’s fitting to have a pregnant woman competing at this Olympics since some are calling the London Games “The Year of the Woman.” For the first time in modern Olympic history every one of the the 204 countries participating has female athletes, including Saudi Arabia, Brunei and Qatar.
IOC President Jacques Rogge stated the obvious at Opening Ceremonies when he said the full participation was “a major boost for gender equality.”
Still, it’s unfortunate that gender equality even needs mention in the 2012 Olympics. What Nur Suryani Mohd Taibi is doing far exceeds gender equality – she should get a gold medal just for being a woman in her third trimester who can still “bring it” on the Olympic stage.
The 10-meter air rifle is not Mohd Taibi’s best event. She won gold at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in India in the 50-meter three position rifle. Mohd Taibi had to change it up for London since one of the positions meant lying on her stomach, which wasn’t going to work with her ever-expanding pregnant belly. Indeed on Saturday, Taibi did not advance past the qualification round for 10-meter air rifle. She finished 34th in a field of 56 competitors.
For those wondering, Mohd Taibi does have the full support of her husband as she competes in the Games.
“He said, ‘This is your dream, go ahead. And when you think that you can do it, you go. You do it,'” Mohd Taibi told the press.
Their baby daughter is due on Sept.13 and will be named Dayana Widyan. Little Dayana is going to have some story to tell her friends one day. At the very least, Mohd Taibi could tell her daughter some day, “There was mommy firing at a bulls-eye the size of a coin, while you kicked and kicked away.”
It was 1996 and my son was 3 1/2 years old. We were watching the Atlanta Olympics for several nights, and little Brendan was loving it. There he was, with his bare feet hanging off the couch, when my husband said:
“Brendan, you know your mother was in the Olympics, right?”
Brendan nodded his head, but looked confused.
“What sport did mama do Brendan?” my husband asked.
“Running?” he guessed.
“No,” my husband answered.
“No, winter sport, Brendan.”
Ah, from the mouths of babes.