Galician athlete Ana Peleteiro, 27, triple jump bronze at the Tokyo Olympics (2020), returns to the slopes and competition five months after giving birth to her first daughter, Lúa, by cesarean section. “The female body is the bomb. I took care of myself during the pregnancy, but I also gave myself my luxury. I took postpartum a bit reluctantly, but one day I got motivated and I feel better than ever. One of his tattoos rightly reminds him: “Surrender is forbidden”. She is happy, preparing her marriage with Benjamin Compaoré, also a sportsman. They live in Guadalajara, but they are still homesick. In 10 years he is linked to sport and health in the business world “and in Galicia, near the sea”. In Vigo, the city where it’s almost always Christmas, he has a podiatry clinic.
Although there are more and more of them, many elite athletes still postpone motherhood until the end of their careers. Why do you think this is happening and why have you decided to become a mother now?
One of the reasons is that they believe they won’t have support. This surprised me a lot and I am extremely grateful to them for the help they give me both within the Superior Council of Sports and in my federation. They cover you, for example, if you have to hire someone to look after your baby during your training. I think it’s important to make it visible because there’s a lot of fear and misinformation. In my case, I had already achieved one of my dreams, which was to be an Olympic medalist, and the next was to be a mother. I was with a person who wanted this to happen. It was my time and everything went well, we stayed the first month.
Do you think anti-pregnancy clauses in sports contracts still work?
It violates women’s rights and now there’s a law that protects them, but there’s always… I understand the brands because it’s pure marketing and they need athletes to train and compete. In my case, from the beginning, I told Adidas that I was going to be a mother and they always respected me. I got pregnant when I was going to sign a great contract with Bridgestone, sponsor of the Olympic Games, and I told them. I didn’t mean to lie. They bet on me. Pregnancy could have made me forget athletics and disappear from the map, but it’s the opposite and these brands are going to have their reward. I don’t know what the season will be like, but I feel better than ever.
The International Athletics Federation has banned the participation of transgender women in women’s competitions. What do you think?
I have trans friends, I think about what they’re going through to show how they feel, and they have my support, but the issue of athletic competition is tricky. If you have matured as a man, even though your testosterone levels drop, your bone density and muscle development are different from other women. In athletics, the woman who jumps the most is 15 meters and a peak and the man 18 meters and a peak. Doors should be open to trans people, but in non-professional sport.
On another occasion, she told me that a man had called her a “shitty nigger” at a gas station. The insults to Vinícius have revived the debate: is Spain a racist country?
I don’t think we are a racist country, but a classist country. No one treats a black man in a Bugatti badly. People who say that on a football field probably have nothing against a racial person outside of it. They are going to be insulted there, I’m really sorry about that and I think we should regulate to always penalize racist insults in sports facilities. On Twitter I get racism every day, but it’s hard for someone to insult you on the street. For me, racism is ignorance. I had the chance to meet people of many races and cultures and that is why, for example, my conception of Muslims is different today than it was before.
How do these attacks affect you on Twitter? For example, she received a lot of criticism when she called Ana Obregón’s surrogate motherhood an “aberration”.
They don’t affect me. I don’t even read Twitter anymore because it seems like a pile of manure to me. But recently, I reported someone who insulted and harassed me on Instagram from a fake profile. With Ana Obregón, I was not criticizing her, but the fact of buying children. And if it caused a sensation, I’m happy because a lot of people didn’t really know what surrogacy was and thanks to that they know it now and oppose it. Being a father is not a right, but having a family, I think it should be. Adoption in Spain is free and an act of absolute kindness and love.
Among adoptees, it is common for the desire to know their origins to arise when they start their own family. Has it happened to him?
No. My parents adopted me when I was two days old. I never had a relationship with my biological mother and I never needed it. Maybe to protect me, in case what I find hurts me. Obviously, I have damage because of this abandonment, but my therapist, Rebeca, helped me to understand many things and to get out of difficult situations. With therapy, everything is cured. I am very happy. My parents love their granddaughter like they gave birth to me and my granddaughter loves them.
Now we are talking more about mental health. Simone Biles has withdrawn from several Tokyo Games finals to protect her mind as well as her body. It seems that the taboo has not been broken in all disciplines, for example in football.
I will never criticize that. To judge without knowing is very cowardly. Football doesn’t talk about it because it’s considered a macho sport and macho men don’t go to therapy because they think they’re fragile. These are troglodyte thoughts because a psychologist can help a guardian who has a blockage at a certain moment. What is the problem? As athletes, we are on television, people watch us and it is important to give a good healthy message, in a very unhealthy society, in which we only see lies and postures on the networks.
Makeup and hair: Miguel Tragacete (One-off Artists) for Chanel Beauty and Kevin Murphy Spain. Photo assistant: Angi Andreo. Styling assistant: Julieta Sartor.
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