Sitting volleyball player Lora Webster has earned a Paralympic gold medal while five months pregnant.
Webster was part of the American team which defeated China in the final of the women’s sitting volleyball tournament at Tokyo 2020. The US won in four sets, helped by the point-scoring exploits of Heather Erickson, Katie Holloway and Monique Matthews.
The 35-year-old Webster is currently carrying her fourth child, having also competed while pregnant at the London 2012 Paralympic Games. She scored six points during yesterday’s final.
"Physically I don't feel any different when I'm playing, and this baby's just along for the ride," she said in the run-up to Tokyo 2020.
"I know how to compete while pregnant. My body knows what to do. I know how to make sure that I'm protecting (the) baby. But as far as competition goes the goal is still the same and my effort and my dedication to getting that job done is still the same. This is just a circumstance of it."
Webster was competing at her fifth Paralympic Games. She clinched bronze with the US at Athens 2004, before achieving silver medals at Beijing 2008 and London 2012, and gold at Rio 2016 and Tokyo 2020.
Born in Arizona, Webster was diagnosed with osteosarcoma in her left tibia when she was 11. She underwent a rotationplasty procedure to remove the cancerous bone, losing her knee in the process.
Now a Paralympic star, Webster revealed she wished to inspire other women who wanted to have children but still play sport.
"People need to know that as long as you're healthy, and I'm not trying to give medical advice by any stretch, it is possible to remain active and a pregnancy doesn't have to derail your goals," she said.
"You can manage both if that's what you're capable of doing. Not everybody is, and with my first pregnancy, I had to stop playing because we had a lot of scares and the risk just wasn't worth it.
"That was a really hard choice for me to give up that dream, to fulfil the other one. So I know that I'm very fortunate to be able to have both right now, and that's not something I take for granted."
The Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games has now come to a conclusion, with the sitting volleyball finals among the last medal events to take place. China topped the standings with 207 medals, followed by Britain with 124 medals and the US with 104.News Now - Sport News