Star Sprinter Allyson Felix Gives Birth, Then Breaks Male Runner Usain Bolt’s Long-standing Record
Three-time world champion, two-time Olympic silver medalist, and 12-time gold medalist, Allyson Felix has had quite a busy year. From breaking water to breaking records to breaking glass ceilings, the unstoppable sprinter is making strides way past the finish line.
With decorated gymnast Simone Biles making history twice in a single weekend last summer as the only female to successfully attempt - and nail - the tricky “triple-double” on the mat, and last month seasoned sprinter Allyson Felix also scoring double duty, record-breaking history, we’re feeling pretty confident about Team USA in Tokyo next summer.
At the IAAF World Championships in Doha, Qatar early October, Felix ran the second leg of the event’s first-ever, mixed-gender 4x400 meter relay race. Not only did it win the coveted gold for team Red, White, and Blue by smashing record time, but made fierce Felix the only athlete ever to secure 12 gold medals at the World Championships, instantly shattering the record she once shared with rival running sensation Usain Bolt. Like superstar athlete Serena Williams, Felix proves women can be mothers as well as world class gold-getters!
Between giving birth to daughter Camryn prematurely last November via a complicated c-section and undergoing contentious renegotiations with her contract with athletic behemoth brand Nike, the past ten months has been both physically and emotionally trying for the renowned runner. The legendary athletic brand refused to contractually agree that Felix would NOT be financially penalized should she fail to perform up to par following her challenging childbirth. Reportedly, Nike wanted to pay Felix a staggering 70% less once she had gotten pregnant. Since Felix’s record-breaking victory this fall, Nike has since justifiably revised its antiquated and unfair maternity policies and promises to offer better maternity benefits to sponsored athletes. Not to mention, Felix has been a staunch and outspoken proponent against Nike’s discriminatory policies regarding athletes who have children, having exposed a number of high-profile apparel companies for covertly deducting pay to new athlete-moms who have been under a contractual agreement. Subsequently, Nike and Felix ended their 17-year partnership and Felix has since signed with athletic apparel giant Athleta, becoming its very first sponsored athlete.
The historic, pulsating relay race started with Felix handing off the blazing baton with the U.S.A. in second place. Unprecedentedly, the Polish team set their male runners in the first two legs, as opposed to the first and last legs, as what the other teams chose to do. With Felix’s strong 400 followed by a steady turn by teammate Courtney Okolo and a whip-lashing anchor by Michael Cherry, history was made. This same, mixed-gender style 4x400 relay race is expected to be contested again at the Olympic Games in Tokyo next summer, so be on stand-by for more heart-stopping strategies, unforeseen finishes, and unprecedented victories. “It was really special,” Felix expressed to NBC Sports post-race. “It’s been a crazy year for me, so just to be here, to be running with this great team, I just feel so blessed.”
After competing in five straight Summer Olympics and procuring an illustrious collection of 12 glistening gold medals, the 33-year-old track and field champion confirmed late October the upcoming 2020 Summer Games in Tokyo will be her final one. “This is it,” Felix told PEOPLE Magazine, “I feel good with it because I feel like I’m just really happy with the place I’m at right now in life. I don’t think I ever would’ve thought that I would have had a child or been in the sport this long in general. I feel like I just want to go out really strong, at my best.”
We’ll see you at the finish line next summer!