Heptathlete Lindsay Flach had a big secret as she headed to Eugene, Oregon this week for the track and field Olympic trials.
The 31-year-old is 18 weeks pregnant with her first child.
Prior to last weekend’s trials, Flach took to Instagram with the announcement writing, “3rd Olympic Trials This one looks a little different 😉.” She continued, “’Every story has an end but in life every end is a new beginning.’ “
Flach, who previously competed in heptathlons in the 2012 and 2016 Olympic trials shared a collage of photos of herself at this year’s trials, followed by a photo of her freeing the bump on the track with fellow U.S. heptathlete, Jordan Gray.
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“The secret 🤫 is no secret anymore,” she writes, followed by the hashtags, “last one,” “pregnant,” “pregnant belly,” “18 weeks” and “fit moms.”
Notoriously one of the most grueling track and field events, the heptathlon is made up of seven events including: the 100-meter hurdles, high jump, shot put, 200-meter sprint, long jump, javelin throw and 800-meter run.
Despite near-100 degree temperatures in Eugene this week, Flach competed in all seven events and placed 15th out of 18 competitors. In the final event, the mommy-to-be stepped off the track after only 100 meters of the 800-meter run to keep her and her baby healthy amid record heat.
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In an interview with Yahoo! Sports, Flach said once she found out about her pregnancy she asked her doctors for permission to continue training leading up to the trials.
“My big concern was making sure that I was healthy and the baby was healthy,” she said.
Obstetricians generally advise that women who are pregnant can do whatever exercise or activity their bodies are used to doing, as long as they don’t have any specific risk factors.
Although Flach has received an outpouring of support, she’s also received a fair share of backlash from people on the internet who think they know better.
“Women and moms are so strong — their body is very capable,” Flach shared, adding that she took every necessary precaution. “You are the only one who knows your body.”
Flach said that she had a “very rough” start to her pregnancy, and trained as best as she could through the nausea, heartburn and headaches.
“I had about 12 weeks of bad vomiting, which affected my training,” she said. “If the Olympic Trials were three weeks ago, I don’t know that I would have been there, but I started to feel better and I was able to get some really good practices in.”
While the athlete admitted it was “hard mentally” to not be able to compete at her highest level, she “just wanted to prove what women are capable of.”
Flach says her goal was to compete and finish out her career on her own terms. As she closes the door to her career as an elite heptathlete and looks toward the next chapter, the mom-to-be says she has already learned so much about motherhood.
“Even these 18 weeks I have learned mamas need way more praise than they receive,” she said. “And are capable of way more than people allow or give them credit for.”