Aug. 16, ATHENS, Greece – Matt Taylor, a member of the USA canoe/kayak team, has more to look forward to this summer than just his chance at a medal. He and his wife Kieran Cannistra are expecting a baby. She’s eight months pregnant and will arrive in Athens Tuesday afternoon.
So what happens if Kieran goes into labor while she’s in Greece?
“Then we’ve got a little Greek baby!” Taylor said.
Taylor and his wife researched their options and found a hospital near the Olympic Stadium that has a partnership with Harvard University Medical Center. If it happens, the couple will welcome their third child into the world at the 2004 Olympic Games.
The sex of the baby is still a mystery, but they have some family names picked out in preparation for either a boy or a girl.
Since Taylor left in June to train in Europe, Kieran has been at home in Atlanta, Ga., with their two daughters, one-year-old Maggie and Josie Mae, who just turned three.
“She just needs a vacation,” Taylor said. “It’s a big deal for her to be here. This is special for her, and it really helps me.”
While both parents are in Athens, the girls will stay with one of their schoolteachers. Taylor’s sister will also help out with the baby-sitting duties.
The spectator manager at the Olympic Canoe/Kayak Slalom Center at the Helliniko Sports Complex will take special care of Kieran while she watches her husband compete on Thursday. Taylor and his partner in the C-2 class Joe Jacobi could also make it to the semifinals and finals on Friday. Kieran will watch from the stands and from the International Canoe Federation tent when she needs to take a break from the blazing heat.
“Greece is the most family friendly place in Europe, and the people here have been very willing to help out,” Taylor said. “Pregnant mothers are sacred!”
Overall, Taylor wouldn’t want his wife anywhere else but in Greece for his second Olympic Games.
“It’s pretty monumental for her to be here,” he said. “I told her that she’s the real Odysseus for making this journey.”
If Kieran doesn’t go into labor while she’s in Athens, the parents-to-be will return to the United States next week to await the arrival of their new baby.
“I’ve got so many good things to look forward to after this race,” Taylor said proudly.