Olympic track star Alysia Montano is eight months pregnant, but that didn't stop her from competing in the 800-meter race at the U.S. Outdoor Track and Field Championships in Sacramento, Calif., Thursday.
According to Nick Zaccardi of NBC Olympic Talk, Montano finished last in her preliminary heat with a time of two minutes and 32.13 seconds, which is 24.38 seconds behind the next-slowest competitor.
Montano became comfortable with the idea of running in the race when she was told by a doctor that the exercise would be beneficial to her as well as her baby.
"That took away any fear of what the outside world might think about a woman running in pregnancy or exercise in general," Montano said. "What I found out mostly was that exercising and maintaining during pregnancy is actually much better for the mom and the baby."
It was quite clear that Montano wasn't going to vie for a win, but the fact that she was willing and able to race at all is hugely impressive. Per Zaccardi, Montano's competitive spirit was the driving force behind her decision.
I've been running through my entire pregnancy, and I felt really, really good during the whole process. I definitely was like, OK, I think I can run a pretty decent time. I didn't have a time on it [that I wanted to run]. I just knew I didn't want to get lapped, be the first person to ever get lapped in an 800-meter. More than anything, I wanted to be here, and I'm feeling that fire and that desire to be on the track and to race. What a better avenue than to do it at USA Nationals.
Even with a nearly full-term baby along for the ride, Montano ran a better time than most people could ever dream of. That includes former Olympic long jump gold medalist Dwight Phillips:
The 28-year-old Montano finished fifth in the 800-meter race at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. She also won bronze at the 2010 World Indoor Championships, so there is no question that she is an elite athlete when in top form.
That much was clear when she was still able to excel with a baby in tow. Track stars have to be in incredible physical condition to reach the pinnacle of the sport, and Montano proved that she most definitely is.
Montano didn't win and she didn't even advance out of her heat, which almost certainly would have torn her apart under normal circumstances. For all the races Montano has won over the years, though, this particular race may have been the most satisfying.
It's clear that Montano remains motivated to be a top competitor, so don't be surprised to see her return to top form after she has her baby. She remains one of the best in the world, and that won't change once she gets back on the track in a truly competitive sense.
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