Baby Comes First for Olympic Hopeful

Olympic dreams hinge on perfect timing: no injuries, no illness, no “off” days when it’s time to qualify.

Top-class 1500-meter runner Sarah Brown was on track to have her best season ever this year, setting her up perfectly for next year’s Summer Olympics in Rio. She had already set personal bests early in the summer at meets in the US and Canada.

But in the USA Track & Field Championships on June 28, she finished ninth. Races in Europe were disappointing too. What was going on?

Sarah was pregnant. And her due date is March 21, less than 15 weeks before the Olympic Track Trials.

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Like Sarah Brown, top hurdler Tasha Danvers Smith faced an unexpected pregnancy in the midst of preparations for the Olympic Games. Facing Life Head-On, the TV program sponsored by Life Issues Institute, told her story in Season 1.

Women choose abortion for different reasons. In a 2013 BMC Women’s Health survey, the second most-named reason was “Not the right time for a baby” (36 percent). Fifth on the list was “Interferes with future opportunities” (20 percent).

Sarah could have decided to abort for either reason. But she chose life for her baby.

“It was one of those things where I wasn’t ready to have a kid, but also, as soon as I found out I was pregnant, I wasn’t ready for the thought of losing that kid,” she told a reporter for Runner’s World. “As terrifying as it was to become a mom, I knew that that was what I wanted.”

Sarah hasn’t set aside her Olympic dream. With input from her doctor, she and her coach—husband Darren, also a runner—modified her training to keep her fit while protecting her baby. She is letting her body be her guide.

“That’s the great thing about having your husband as a coach,” Sarah said, and Darren finished her sentence for her: “There’s nobody as protective of this baby.”

Once the baby is born, Sarah will work intensely to get back to top form in time for comeback competition and then the Trials. She’s come back on tight schedules before, after injuries, and she and Darren have set their sights on the Olympics.

“We don’t know what’s going to happen,” Sarah said, “but we’re not afraid to try. I think that’s kind of our attitude for this year. We don’t have control all the time, but I’m definitely not afraid to try and not afraid to tell people I am trying.”

Sarah and Darren’s baby is fortunate to have parents who truly understand that life is more precious than even the biggest dream of glory. And when the Summer Olympics come around, no one will be cheering louder for Sarah than I will. Please keep them in your prayers.

As you read this I know you’re busy preparing for Thanksgiving. And if you’re like me, you have to resist the temptation of Christmas steamrolling over this important holiday. Take a quiet moment to thank God for all of your blessings—big and small. The Creator of the universe loves hearing from His children. On behalf of the staff of Life Issues Institute, may you and those you love have a very blessed Thanksgiving.

Bradley Mattes
President, Life Issues Institute

Life Issues Institute is dedicated to changing hearts and minds of millions of people through education. For 25 years, organizations and individuals around the world have depended upon Life Issues Institute to provide the latest information and effective tools to protect innocent human life from womb to tomb.

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