Podcast: Silver medalist Hannah Roberts discusses gender discrepancies in BMX – NBC Olympics

On Her Turf

In the Olympic debut of the BMX freestyle competition, Hannah Roberts laid down some massive runs and won silver. She joined hosts Lolo Jones and Lindsay Czarniak to chat about what it’s like competing on the biggest stage, how she overcomes fear to perform high-flying flips and her recovery from breaking her back in 2012. The 19-year-old also explains how she got started in BMX and the discrepancies between men’s and women’s BMX competitions. 

“When I first started in 2016, it was the first year that women’s BMX was able to compete in contests all around the world. That was the first time we ever had a world series and obviously the pay discrepancy. Men were making $8,000, and we were making 250 Euro for a win,” Roberts says. “There was two or three years where we didn’t have a livestream. The only way that you could see how we competed is if one of us went live on social media. Contests used to never post about us. X-Games still doesn’t have a women’s class. There’s so many things that are still happening and that we’re trying to make equal.” 

Jones and Czarniak then welcome Olympians Kara Goucher and Alysia Montano for a conversation on the challenges of juggling motherhood while training as an elite athlete. Goucher gives her take on where the discussion of gaining better maternity protections stands among athletes who are currently competing. 

“I think most current athletes are still afraid to talk about it. I do think that with Alysia and Allyson Felix leading that charge we really have seen companies change and make amends to their contracts, but we still do have a ways to go. We need actual maternity protection,” she said. “We see a lot of mothers at these Games, and it’s important that these athletes are protected so that they can be mothers and amazing athletes at the same time.”

Montano stresses the importance of asking female athletes who have children, “What is it that you need to thrive in you career and in your motherhood?” She also details the goals of her organization, &Mother.

The women close out the episode by sharing how they overcame the obstacles they faced when returning to work as new mothers. 

You can hear more from Roberts, Goucher and Montano on Apple Podcasts or below: