US sprinter Allyson Felix broke world’s fastest human, Usain Bolt’s record of most numbers of golds at the IAAF World Athletics Championship as she bagged gold in the 4x400m relay event. With this, Felix moved her gold medal tally in IAAF World Championship to a 12 which is one more than Bolt’s 11 gold medals.
— Allyson Felix (@allysonfelix) October 1, 2019
What makes her victory even more delightful is the fact that this was her first season as a mother. Her pregnancy was not easy. She had a severe case of preeclampsia which led to an emergency C-section at 32 weeks. Both the mother and the child’s lives were at risk. Preeclampsia aside, she was also subject to racial bias within the healthcare system.
She urged the committee to provide women of colour more support during their pregnancies, noting “racial bias within our healthcare system that is troubling and will be difficult to tackle,” reported NBC sports.
Felix overcame health complications and social discrimination to give birth to her daughter Camryn on November 28, 2018. She made a comeback in just 10 months to leave her mark at the top-level competition.
Felix also led a high profile movement against Nike, which forced the sporting giants to revise their age-old maternity policies for its sponsored athletes. Felix, along with Alysia Montano, Kara Goucher and Pheobe Wright forced Nike to adopt a new policy which ensures that female athletes won’t be ‘adversely impacted financially for pregnancy’ for 18 months which is six more months than the previous policy.
“If I can’t secure maternity protections, then who can?” Felix asked while fighting for the maternity rights of female athletes against Nike. “Getting pregnant is the kiss of death for a female athlete,” said Pheobe Wright during the protests against Nike.
The 2020 Tokyo Olympics is not far, and Felix has her eyes firmly set on the grand prize. A total of nine medals and Felix is already the most decorated Olympian of all time alongside Merlene Ottey. A successful Tokyo Olympics campaign and she would be the undisputed queen of athletics.