Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce claimed gold in the women’s 100 metres in Doha on Sunday evening – her fourth world title over the distance, and her first as a mother.
The 32-year-old Jamaican, who gave birth to son Zyon two years ago, finished in 10.71 seconds, pipping Great Britain’s Dina Asher-Smith into second place.
“The females keep showing up,” Fraser-Pryce told the BBC after the race while holding Zyon. “Hoping that I can give inspiration to all the women who are thinking about starting a family or currently starting a family and wondering if they can come back.”
Here are some other mothers who have returned to top-level sport.
1. Kim Clijsters
The Belgian’s professional tennis career appeared to be over, having been forced to retire at the age of 23 through injury and after giving birth to daughter Jada. However, Clijsters completed a remarkable sporting comeback to win the 2009 US Open just 18 months after giving birth – becoming the first mother to win a grand slam singles title since Evonne Goolagong in 1980. She retained her title 12 months later before retiring in 2012 and has since had two more children. She recently announced plans to return to the WTA Tour in 2020 at the age of 36.
2. Margaret Court
Court won 21 grand slam singles titles before taking time out in 1971 and 1972 for the birth of her first child, son Daniel. In 1973, she triumphed at the Australian, French and US Opens. She had a daughter, Marika, in 1974 and again returned to the tour, but there would be no more grand slam trophy success. The Australian’s 24 singles majors remains a record, with Serena Williams one behind.
3. Laura Kenny
Four-time Olympic gold medallist Kenny gave birth to son Albert in August 2017 and has since returned to the top of her game, picking up two golds at last year’s European Championships and team pursuit silvers at the World Championships in 2018 and 2019. She will look to add to her Olympic medal haul in Tokyo next year.
4. Dame Jessica Ennis-Hill
The 2012 Olympic heptathlon champion missed the Commonwealth Games in 2014 as she gave birth to her son Reggie. She returned the following year and won a world title before adding Olympic silver to her collection in Rio and then retiring, and has since added daughter Olivia to her family.
5. Serena Williams
Williams won an Open era record 23rd grand slam in Australia while pregnant. She gave birth to daughter Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr in September 2017 and returned in an exhibition three months later. The American reached the Wimbledon and US Open finals for each of the past two years, losing to Angelique Kerber and Simona Halep at SW19, and Naomi Osaka and Bianca Andreescu at Flushing Meadows.
6. Jo Pavey
Pavey produced an inspirational performance to become the oldest female European champion in 2014 at the age of 40, winning 10,000 metres gold in front of her 11-month-old daughter. Just 10 days earlier, the four-time Olympian put on one of the displays of the Commonwealth Games to secure bronze in the 5,000m. In Rio, aged 42, the mother of two became the first British track athlete to compete in five Olympics.
7. Dame Sarah Storey
Storey had won 11 Paralympic gold medals when she gave birth to her daughter Louisa Marie in 2013. The following year she won four para-cycling world titles before she became Britain’s most successful female Paralympian by adding another three golds to her collection in Rio. She has since given birth to son Charlie.
8. Paula Radcliffe
The former BBC Sports Personality of the Year winner made a victorious return to running after the January 2007 birth of daughter Isla. Radcliffe went on to win the New York Marathon less than 10 months later, before triumphing in the race again in 2008. She had a second child in 2010.