Olympic gold medalist Kerri Walsh Jennings bothered some feminists this week when she used her time in the spotlight to talk about how important motherhood is to her.
The women’s volleyball champion is competing in the Rio, Brazil Olympic games this week, four years after winning her third gold medal in London while pregnant, Independent Journal reports.
In a pre-game interview with NBC this weekend, Walsh Jennings said, “I feel like I was born to have babies and play volleyball.”
She continued: “Before I had more kids, I was like, this feels trivial. I’d been playing for so long, and I was like I need balance. All my eggs are in this one basket and it’s very self-centered and self-focused. They gave me that perspective and balance I thought I was missing. It took my game and my desire and my passion for life to the next level. I am hugely indebted to my children.”
A few people were not happy with Walsh Jennings’ comments, though. One Twitter user criticized the athlete in a series of tweets:
@cameronesposito Did you just see the piece about Kerri Walsh Jennings? “I was born to have babies…” What is @nbc doing to us?!
— Paula Dixon (@PeoplePaula) August 7, 2016
@nbc And now a package about Kerri Walsh Jennings: “I was born to have babies.” Is Donald Trump running the network now? Get it together. — Paula Dixon (@PeoplePaula) August 7, 2016
Others countered the criticism by praising Walsh Jennings for proving how strong women are:
Kerri Walsh-Jennings is 37 years old with 3 Olympic gold medals. 3 kids, and a 6 pack. What a boss. ??
— Hannah Heinz (@hannah_sophia15) August 7, 2016
Olympic gold medalist Kerri Walsh Jennings gets it: children do not keep us from pursuing our dreams! Walsh says,… https://t.co/07AO1RWYUf — A Woman’s Concern (@WomansConcern) August 8, 2016
Gold medalist Kerri Walsh Jennings knows the value of children. #rio2016 #perspective #olympics #MotivationMonday pic.twitter.com/2vqnbFgCNd
— Heartbeat Int’l (@HeartbeatIntl) August 8, 2016
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Walsh Jennings and her husband, Casey Jennings, a U.S. men’s beach volleyball player, have three children. The star athlete said she would like to have more someday.
“I’d love to win a fourth gold medal. I’d love to have a fourth baby,” she told reporters.
On her profile for the U.S. Olympic team, she added, “The balancing act of motherhood and a career, and being a wife, is something that I don’t think I’ll ever perfect, but I love the challenge of it.”