Olympic track runner Alysia Montano has never been one to let the presence of a fetus developing in her womb keep her from competing, and this year is no exception. On Thursday, she finished seventh in her 800-meter heat at the U.S. Track & Field Outdoor Championships, despite the blistering 110 degree temperature and, uh, being five months pregnant.
Wearing a Wonder Woman sports bra and two flowers pinned in her hair, Montano was unperturbed by coming in last as she crossed the finish line at 2:21:40, smiling broadly with her arms raised. As she told the Team USA newsletter:
“There is something about coming out to any venue not really expecting to win but going along with the journey and seeing what comes out of it,” Montano said. “It is the most beautiful part about me being a track and field athlete with the platform I have, I feel so responsible to be a representative for people who don’t have a safe platform or voice that I do.”
In 2014, Montano ran the same race at 34 weeks pregnant, just a month and a half before her due date.
Montano’s decision to run while pregnant was one she made with her doctor’s blessing, not that that necessarily stopped some people from sharing their unsolicited opinions. “I just hope she’s careful,” said fellow runner Brenda Martinez, who placed first in the race, adding “she seems really happy and I’m happy for her.”
Montano seems to have more patience than I would, saying that she takes care of herself, and besides, “I’m not super-duper delicate,” she said. Regarding running while pregnant:
“It’s still a conversation that needs to be had. I represent so many different people: women, black women, pregnant women. It’s my responsibility to make sure I’m a voice and an advocate for them.”
Last year, Montano made headlines after she stumbled and fell during the Olympic trials in Eugene, Oregon. She hauled herself across the finish line, where she collapsed to her knees and cried. After such a heartbreaking turn of events, it’s truly delightful to see that Montano has recovered so gracefully. As she said in this short video that did not make me tear up, “It wasn’t the fall at Olympic trials that mattered. It was getting back up that defines me.”
As for her top, Montano said Wonder Woman had a hand in convincing her to sign up for the race in the first place:
“I wanted Wonder Woman to represent me,” she said. “When I found out (star Gal Gadot) filmed half the movie five months pregnant, I said, ‘I for sure am signing up for USA nationals.’”
Montano also emphasized that her goal isn’t specifically to pressure women to run while pregnant. “That’s not the point at all,” she said. “We’re just different and that’s the point.” Amen.