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Olympic hopeful Lindsay Flach has received overwhelming support after surprising fans and competing in the US track and field trials while 18 weeks pregnant.
Flach, sporting a visible baby bump, took the US trials in one last attempt to reach the Olympics for the first time.
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But this US trials would be a different proposition for Flach.
While Flach finished last to the 15 women competing in the seven events to qualify for the Olympics, it was just her presence and remarkable determination that made a statement.
In 2020, Flach wanted one last chance to qualify for the Tokyo Games in the heptathlon.
The trials, which had become her goal, offered her one last chance to reach the Olympics before she married her longtime boyfriend.
The 31-year-old move to the University of Texas to train in one last effort to make the Olympics.
But Covid-19 delayed the Olympics, and as a result the trials.
While training during the pandemic, Flach realised she was struggling to reach her lofty heights.
She took a pregnancy test and discovered she was pregnant.
“It was bittersweet,” Flach told Yahoo Sports US.
“I was really excited because I’ve always wanted kids, but it was also a shock knowing that just like that, my track career was over.”
Lindsay Flach's decision to keep training
The delay of more than one year to the Olympics, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, had put an end to one of her dreams.
Despite accepting her fate, Fanch wanted to go out on her own terms and say goodbye to a sport that had become her life.
The decision to try to have a baby this year was Flach’s concession that it was time to start the next chapter of her life.
What Flach couldn’t bring herself to do, however, was to retire without competing one final time.
Upon discovering that she was pregnant a few months ago, Flach asked her doctor if she could keep training leading up to the Olympic Trials.
The doctor gave her permission to work out in moderation as long as she heeded any warning signs from her body and was careful to avoid hard falls.
“My big concern,” she says, “was making sure that I was healthy and the baby was healthy.”
Flach revealed her intention to compete at the US trials, while 18 weeks pregnant, in an Instagram post only a couple of weeks ago.
The track star said she cop some negative comments, but wasn't worried because of her sound medical advice.
“I did have some negative reactions when I announced it,” Flach said.
“'You’re risking the baby. Women shouldn’t do this when they’re pregnant. You’re being selfish. You’re taking someone else’s spot.'
“I kind of expected that to come, but at the same time I knew I was going to be very cautious and I knew I wasn’t going to take a chance of harming myself or the baby.”
However, she wasn't without a flood of support for her remarkable achievement.
But Flach had to take precautions at the trials and also had to keep an eye on the sweltering temperatures, which reached 42 degrees Celsius at one stage in Oregon.
Instead of taking the hurdles event at full speed, Flach changed her approach to makes sure she didn't fall over.
During her shot put and long jump event, she only took one attempt instead of the three.
And her biggest test came during the 800m run.
Flach pulled out of the event after 100m, which was agreed upon with her team leading up to the event.
So why did she compete having scored only half the points of her personal best?
Flach said she wanted to go out on her own terms and to prove that women are capable of anything.
“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,” Flach said.
“To end one chapter and begin another on my terms was amazing.”
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