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The challenges and historic opportunities for female athletes at the Tokyo Olympics

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Helen Glover is a woman of firsts. In 2012, she and her partner Heather Stanning picked up the first-ever gold medal for female British rowers, and the first gold medal for Team GB in its home Games in London. In 2016, they won gold again. Then, Stanning retired, and Glover had three children. Now she is back with another goal in mind: To be the first rower on Team GB to compete in an Olympics after giving birth. She was selected in June and will get her chance next Thursday (July 29) in Tokyo.

This is “a powerful moment in time: the female rising,” according to Kerri Walsh Jennings, an American beach volleyball player, four-time Olympic medalist, and mother of three, who recently spoke to The Washington Post.

Female athletes with children have unprecedented opportunities to compete at the same level as men, even during and after pregnancy, where before they faced “a choice: either put off having babies or wait until you’re done competing,” Walsh Jennings told The Post. Now, they can keep their sponsorships, and their funding, which wasn’t the case as recently as 2019.

Read the rest of this story on qz.com. Become a member to get unlimited access to Quartz’s journalism.

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