If any mums out there need inspiration about embracing motherhood and elite sport, look no further than weightlifter Pip Patterson and her support network.

Patterson finished fifth in the under-53kg category at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games.

Four years on, and with son Cooper approaching two-and-a-half at Christmas, she has been selected for next April's Gold Coast Games.

The 32-year-old is married to Richie Patterson, the first New Zealand weightlifter selected for four Commonwealth Games.


Patterson described her return to the sport as "surprisingly cruisey", but that came with a proviso.

It would not have happened without the help of her mum Gay Hale.

Hale's work in the background enables the Pattersons to maintain their training schedules and run their Functional Strength CrossFit gym in Albany.

"I'm lucky with family," Pip says.

"Mum helps out a lot with Cooper. She takes him so I can train, and it's not really an option to leave him with Richie because we train together.

"It's always a balancing act with Cooper, the business, family and training, but we get it done."

Patterson has not wavered in her desire to return to the elite ranks since Cooper's birth.
She won gold at last year's Oceania Championships followed by silver this year and bronze at the Commonwealth Championships.

"I trained as much as I could while pregnant, obviously using a lot lighter weights. That helped with coming back.


"Listening to your body is the main thing, and not pushing too hard too soon. Owning our own gym has also fostered the environment to do that."

"It's great to see them achieve their goals," Hale added about her daughter and son-in-law.

"Now Cooper's come along we tend to spend more time looking after him so they can carry on at the level they're at. Pip wouldn't have enough time to train otherwise. There are also occasions when they need assistance to free them up in the business.

"We get a huge kick out of Cooper. He's our one grandchild, and brings us a lot of joy."

Hale spends two afternoons a week with Cooper and describes her role as being "part of the team".

"Even if it's in the background. We're at most competitions around New Zealand and overseas but it takes time, commitment and funds to get there… it's just as well we like to travel."

That will include attending next year's Games, despite tickets being scarce.

"We had a team of our friends travel to Glasgow. The same cheer squad – and now Cooper-holders - are aiming to be at the Gold Coast."