Heptathlete Lindsay Flach competed in her third U.S. Olympic trials in scorching 100-degree heat while 18 weeks pregnant, choosing to end her track and field career on her terms.
On Friday, the day before the heptathlon competition in Eugene, Oregon, the athlete announced on Instagram that she is expecting her first child. She shared photos of her training, including one of her showing off her baby bump while posing with fellow athlete Jordan Gray.
‘3rd Olympic Trials This one looks a little different,’ Flach, 31, captioned the post. ‘”Every story has an end but in life every end is a new beginning.” The secret is no secret anymore.’
Strong mom: Heptathlete Lindsay Flach, 31, competed in U.S. Olympic track and field trials in Eugene, Oregon, over the weekend at 18 weeks pregnant
Proud: The expectant mom placed 15th out of 18 competitors over the weekend, but, for her, finishing all seven events in the heptathlon was a victory in itself
The heptathlon is one of the most grueling events in track and field with seven different competitions: the 100-meter hurdles, high jump, shot put, 200-meter sprint, long jump, javelin throw, and 800-meter run.
Flach placed 15th out of 18 competitors, but, for her, finishing all seven events was a victory in itself.
When she learned she was pregnant in March, her doctor gave her the go-ahead to continue training in moderation for the Olympic trials as long as paid attention to warning signs from her body and avoided falls, according to Yahoo! Sports.
‘My big concern,’ she told the outlet, ‘was making sure that I was healthy and the baby was healthy.’
Careful: With record heat in Eugene, Oregon, she took necessary precautions, including only taking one attempt in the shot put instead of three
Precaution: Flach also stepped off the track 100 meters into the 800-meter run due to the record heat in Eugene
Ready to go: The athlete’s doctor approved her to continue training for her third U.S. Olympic trials when she found out she was pregnant in March
Flach took the necessary precautions during the competition last weekend. She slowed down her hurdle time to ensure she wouldn’t trip and fall, and she pulled out of the high jump after clearing the opening bar at 1.54 meters.
She also had to make adjustments due to the record heat in Eugene, with the temperature expected to reach 110-degrees on Sunday.
The mom-to-be only took one attempt in the shot put instead of three, and she opted to step off the track after 100 meters during the final 800-meter run.
‘It was hard mentally because I knew I wasn’t going to be able to compete at the level I was capable of 18 weeks ago, but I just wanted to prove what women are capable of,’ she told Yahoo! Sports. ‘To end one chapter and begin another on my terms was amazing.’
Surprise: Flach announced on Instagram Friday that she is expecting her first child, sharing photos of herself at Hayward Field
Slow and steady: Flach (pictured during training) said she purposefully slowed down her hurdle time to ensure she wouldn’t trip and fall
Flach had previously competed in the 2012 and 2016 Olympic trials while vying for a spot on the U.S. heptathlon team.
She put her plans to marry her boyfriend and have a baby on hold as she trained for the 2020 season, but then the COVID-19 pandemic struck and the Tokyo Games were postponed.
The athlete made the decision to try for a baby, even though she knew a pregnancy would dash her Olympic dreams.
She admitted that the moment she found out she was pregnant was ‘bittersweet’ because it marked the end of her career as a heptathlete.
Practice: Flach proudly showed off her growing baby bump while posing with fellow athlete Jordan Gray
Candid: Flach (pictured last year) admitted that the moment she found out she was pregnant was ‘bittersweet’ because it marked the end of her career as a heptathlete
Training was difficult for the expectant mom, who struggled with heartburn, headaches, and frequent vomiting.
Flach told Yahoo! Sports that she needed intravenous fluid three times during the first trimester because she was dehydrated from being unable to keep any food or liquids down.
Inspiring: Flach said she competed in the trials because she wanted to end her track and field career on her terms
‘My pregnancy was very rough to start,’ she said. ‘I had about 12 weeks of bad vomiting, which affected my training.
‘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.’
Flach had the support of her family and friends, though she admitted her pregnancy announcement was met with some negativity.
Critics accused her of everything from putting her unborn baby at risk to taking a spot away from another athlete vying for the Olympics, but she knows she took every possible precaution.
Medical professionals generally advise that most pregnant women can continue to work out at the same level they did before they were expecting.
‘Woman and moms are so strong — their body is very capable,’ Flach told Today. ‘You are the only one who knows your body.’