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Bronze Medalist Put Life First

By Susan Brinkmann, OCDS Staff Writer    A British runner who gave up her Olympic dreams in 2004 after refusing to abort an  unplanned pregnancy will come home a hero after winning a bronze medal in Beijing. Tasha Danvers-Smith was at the top of her game in 2004, the sixth ranked woman runner in the world and Britain’s best hope for a medal in the summer Olympics in Athens. But some unexpected news changed everything. She was pregnant. The father of her baby was her coach-husband. "The timing could not have been worse,” she told London's Telegraph in 2004. “If I had run at Athens it would have meant greater financial security, more recognition. There is nothing negative that can happen when you have a shot at an Olympic medal." Smith came under enormous pressure from the track and field community to abort the child and go through with her plans to compete. "I cannot lie, I considered an abortion,” she said. “On the one hand you look at the situation and say, 'I can have a baby and incur more costs, more problems.' We don't even have a house yet...And I am the major breadwinner." However, she and her husband, Darrell, decided life was the right choice. She was immediately vilified in the press, with one former British hurdler, Alan Pascoe, calling her stupid for getting pregnant. But she knew in her heart and soul that she made the right decision. “This line from the Scriptures kept coming into my head,” she said. “'For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world and lose his own soul?' For me, the whole wide world was the Olympics. At the same time, I felt I would be losing my soul. So then I knew. For me it was not going to be an option. And as soon as I decided that, I felt so happy. Even though I know it is going to be a struggle financially and that I am sacrificing my medal hopes." From her home in Los Angeles, Tasha said that watching the 2004 Olympics was "too dreadful" to bear, "but when December comes and the baby is born, I know I will feel a lot differently." On December 8, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, Tashsa gave birth to Jaden Wayde Smith, who became the joy of her life and the motivation to get back into training. Seven months later, she was back on the track and getting ready for Beijing. On August 20, 2008, her Olympic dreams finally came true when she won the bronze medal in the 400 meter hurdles event in Beijing. After winning the bronze medal, she told the Telegraph: “My message, if I have a message . . . is never to give up. Life isn’t always rosy and it can be really tough sometimes, but you can come through and be a winner again.” An unplanned pregnancy doesn't mean giving up one's dreams, Tasha proved, just delaying them a little while longer.   © All Rights Reserved, Living His Life Abundantly/Women of Grace.