Four-time Olympian Chemmy Alcott revealed to HELLO! how her secret wish came true as she found out she was expecting a baby boy back in October 2016. Chemmy and her husband, former ski champion Dougie Crawford, announced to HELLO! that they were expecting a son. "I totally welled up as being the youngest of three with two older brothers, I was hoping secretly for a boy," she said. Chemmy, 34, who is Britain's most successful female alpine skier, decided to find out the sex of their baby, who was due on January 1st, at the 20-week scan.
"Normally we love surprises but because of when I am due and the fact that Dougie will be away running our ski camps for two weeks before and a week after, discovering the sex of the baby was something we wanted to enjoy together," said Chemmy, who was preparing to give birth without Dougie at her side. Becoming a mum is unlikely to slow down the skier who represented TeamGB throughout a 20-year-sporting career and is used to speeding downhill at 80mph.
It was while at home in Hampton Court, Surrey – while Dougie was taking a ski instructor exam abroad – that Chemmy discovered that she was expecting their first child. "It was my acupuncturist who first told me. How phenomenal that he could tell before I even knew," marvels Chemmy, who had injured her knee five months earlier and was having treatment to make sure she was recovering well. "He’d stopped me drinking coffee to help the healing but I think it also helped my fertility. He knew we wanted to start a family. At one session, he told me, 'I can’t do your normal acupuncture today because your rhythms are off.'" The next morning the acupuncturist messaged, saying: "I think you should do a pregnancy test." "I thought, 'I won’t get my hopes up, I’ll wait until Dougie gets back.' I lasted three hours. I did the test and it was positive."
Immediately, Chemmy called Dougie to share the news. "He was on top of a glacier in Austria about to take one of the most important ski instructor tests of his life. He was so excited. We were both screaming down the phone." Dougie was there for the first scan and says: "It was possibly even more emotional for me, as Chemmy had felt that she was pregnant as everything happens in her body. For me, it had been more distant. Then to see the heartbeat and our tiny baby was so amazing. I was very emotional. It became very real." The couple, both now retired from professional skiing, run their own business, CDC Performance, to help young people develop life skills through sport. Their busiest camp runs from 16 December to 9 January, meaning that Dougie could be coaching in Austria, Switzerland or Italy when their baby arrives. "There’s a chance that he will be back – if I’m six days late," says Chemmy. Adds Dougie: "That is one really tough thing at the moment. I’m not scheduled to be there for the birth but we will try as I don’t want to miss it. The excitement outweighs all the logistical challenges." Has she thought about having a birthing partner on standby in case Dougie can’t make it? "I’m so hoping he’ll be there that I’m not even thinking about a back-up plan yet. I have a great family and friends who would keep me calm. I’m in a bit of denial as I want him to be there."
There’s no doubt that their child will be introduced to the slopes at an early age. "I don’t think our baby will have much choice in that. We run 140 days of kids' camps a year and it will be the most amazing environment for a young person to grow up in." Chemmy first took to the slopes at 18 months and went on to compete at the age of eight before embarking on a career that saw her ranked eighth in the world and competing in Olympics in Salt Lake City, Turin, Vancouver and Sochi. Dougie had the same early introduction, starting on the nursery slopes at two years old. "Well, if you can call it skiing at that age," he says. "My parents are mad keen so my brother and I started when we were very young." Since retiring from competition after the Sochi 2014 Games, Chemmy's life has continued apace. She has taken part in the Arctic Circle Race in Greenland, known as the world’s toughest cross-country ski race, and the100-mile cycling road race Ride London. As someone used to speeding downhill at more than 80mph, does she think life will change gear once they become parents? "I will be a better mother if I am following my passion, which is to be out there in the mountains. I am very lucky that I have been able to make my passion my job now," says Chemmy, who also presents for BBC’s Ski Sunday and leads confidence-building workshops for young girls as part of the initiative X-Elle, which she set up.
Dougie agrees. "We hope not to stop everything," he says. "I know you never know until you have a child and everything may change, but the best thing for a baby is to have happy parents." When they retired they said they’d get married, which they did at Syon Park in Middlesex in 2014. "Then we said we wanted to do business, breakfast bar and babies," says Chemmy. "The business is going great, the babies we’re now on top of and, for the next few months, we’ll have to move out of our house while we do our kitchen extension so we will have our breakfast bar!"