Melanie Roach, 33, is a mother of three who is an Olympic weightlifter and runs a gymnastics center. A former gymnast, she took up weightlifting and has won many awards for her heavy lifting and is hoping to bring home another medal in Beijing.
"I find being a mother is a huge advantage," she told NBC. "Of course, I'm probably a little more tired than I might be if I didn't have children, but I think they provide me the balance that I need to keep my mind off of lifting. When I'm in the gym, I'm in the gym, and that is my focus. But when I'm not in the gym, I'm enjoying being a mom and taking care of those responsibilities ... They really do provide me with the balance that I need to be a more complete athlete."
Her 2-1/2 year-old son's diagnosis of autism has also helped her regain focus. "That really brought into perspective all the things that I thought were so devastating in my early career, in my 20s," she says. "All of a sudden, not making the Olympic team seemed so minute compared to having a child diagnosed with autism ... [It] made weightlifting just a bonus part of my life. It's not a stress at all. It's really something very special, and just an exciting opportunity that I have to go back and finish what I started eight years ago." (Read more about what it's like to be living with autism here.)
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