A pregnant Alysia Montano is pictured after running in the opening round of the Women's 800 Meter on day 2 of the USATF Outdoor Championships at Hornet Stadium on June 26, 2014 in Sacramento, California. GETTY IMAGES

USA Track & Field (USATF) announced in a press release Thursday that it has expanded maternity support for its athletes, building on the coverage currently offered by the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee (USOPC). The expanded policy will provide athletes with more time to recover and requalify for Tier benefits.

The Athlete Stipends and Elite Athlete Health Insurance (EAHI) offered by the USOPC only supports athletes for one year after the end of a pregnancy, on the basis that they intend to return to competition at an elite level. USATF acknowledges that one year could often be not enough time to return to an elite level for track and field athletes, much less quality for a tier status; a system based on results and rankings that must be achieved by 30 September of each year to quality for benefits for the following year. 

After USOPC’s maternity benefit ends, USATF will continue to provide athletes with funding and support until the next time the athlete has an opportunity to requalify for Tier benefits

“USATF is proud to continue to put athlete support at the forefront of our organisation. Team USATF’s legacy of success and excellence would not be possible without our female athletes, so offering additional maternity support will help ensure athletes are equipped with all the necessary tools and resources on their journey to gold.” USATF COO, Renee Chube Washington, said in their official statement. 

The organisation’s expanded maternity support benefits include reimbursement for COBRA premiums for athletes and all USATF-paid High Performance Programs support, including medical expense reimbursement, competitive opportunities support, funding to USATF Championships, tier coaching stipend, and coach travel support to World Championships and the Olympic Games for qualifying athletes. The expanded policy takes effect immediately and is expected to benefit six athletes in 2024.