While I am rooting for team U.S.A.’s shooters at the Olympics just like the rest of you, it’s hard not to hope there is also a spot on the medal stand for Malaysia’s Nur Suryani Mohamed Taibi.
She isn’t just the first woman ever to represent Malaysia in shooting (she is) she’s also eight months pregnant. That gives her the added distinction of being the most pregnant Olympian ever.* She has her difficulties, such as fitting into her special maternity uniform. She is handling her moment in the spotlight with grace and humor as this profile shows.
For those of you who might think shooting 10 meter air rifle is not a very active sport – it’s not – still, shooting with Olympic-level accuracy while eight months pregnant can’t be easy. Nur Suryani says her pregnancy weight gain makes her more stable. Nonetheless, in 10 meter air rifle you shoot at a target literally the size of the period at the end of this sentence. To hit it, you have to hold very still. Air rifle competitors try to control and slow their heartrates and actually shoot between beats. Nur Suryani’s heartrate, like any pregnant woman’s, has probably increased by 15 to 20 beats per minute. And, she has to hope the baby doesn’t start kicking at exactly the wrong moment. Here is hoping she’s able to shoot between beats and hit what she aims at.
*The previous most pregnant Olympian ever was Canada’s curler Kristie Moore, who was five and a half months pregnant during the 2010 Winter Games.