"It's what I'm most proud of" - Allyson Felix on contributing towards Nike changing their maternal policy

2020 U.S. Olympic Track & Field Team Trials - Day 3
Allyson Felix withe her daughter 2020 U.S. Olympic Track & Field Team Trials in Eugene, Oregon

Allyson Felix hung up her spikes in 2022, leaving behind a legacy of excellence and determination both on and off the track.

As one of the greatest athletes, she also demonstrated unwavering advocacy for maternal protection. Felix, a dedicated athlete, faced adversity with her sponsor, when Nike allegedly demanded a 70% pay cut during her pregnancy, a move she deemed highly disrespectful. Undeterred, Felix courageously confronted Nike and initiated a fight for justice.

Felix's brother, Wes, also a sprinter specializing in the 100m and 200m, consistently stood by her as her greatest supporter throughout her remarkable athletic journey and remained a steadfast pillar during her battle against Nike.

Recently, Wes took to his social media to share a picture revealing a mail addressed to an anonymous recipient from Nike, admitting the modifications in policies to support female athletes during pregnancy.

"Hopefully, this will be something that really makes a difference and allows female athletes to be better known and understood. Working on this has been the highlight of my career," wrote Wes Felix.

Allyson Felix shared the post on her Instagram story, expressing her joy at standing up for the cause.

"It's what I'm most proud of," Felix wrote. "To have contributed to this change," she continued.
Allyson Felix posted on Instagram story
Allyson Felix posted on Instagram story

Challenges faced by Allyson Felix during her motherhood journey

Allyson Felix along with her daughter at the 2020 U.S. Olympic Track & Field Team Trials at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon
Allyson Felix along with her daughter at the 2020 U.S. Olympic Track & Field Team Trials at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon

Allyson Felix gave birth to her daughter, Camyrn in November 2018. She managed to keep her pregnancy a secret even while competing in meets when she was four months along. Doctors discovered she had high blood pressure, and her daughter's heart rate was slow.

Felix developed preeclampsia during her pregnancy, compelling her to undergo an emergency C-section in the 32nd week. In an interview with Today, she admitted her uncertainty about her daughter's safe delivery.

"I was unsure if I was going to make it. If I was ever going to hold my precious daughter," Felix said.

Adding to this despair was Nike's demand that she accept the pay cuts. Felix also spoke about her fight, especially for women of color, highlighting pregnancy complications faced by Serena Williams, and Beyonce. She also mentioned Teri Bowie, who lost her life due to a pregnancy complication.

"Like so many Black women, I was unaware of the risks I faced while pregnant," Felix said. "The medical community must do its part. There are so many stories of women dying who haven’t been heard. Doctors really need to hear the pain of Black women," she expressed.

Allyson Felix's new series 'Starting Blocks' showcases her journey as an athlete and as a mother.

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Edited by Darla Gopikrishnan
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