Allyson Felix: World Athletics Championships record-breaker on life-changing year

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By Tom Reynolds
BBC Sport at Doha
Getting the most prosperous athlete in World Championships history as she did Doha – could have been all-consuming for Allyson Felix. Her has shifted .
With a baby has given birth to the activist. Felix is no longer a ready participant in theculture of silence about maternity rights in elite sports. She has found her voice.
Hence the 3 words which dominate her private websites homepage:
Athlete. Mother. Activist.
Felix the mum is running . We meet on the 42nd floor of her hotel overlooking the Gulf.
Together with the World Athletics Championships in the town, these lavish surroundings are perfect for a sprint winner, but maybe not for 10-month old girl Camryn. Her entire body clock has to adapt to the Middle East and as a result 33, Felix, has been up all night.
Its not a brand new experience for somebody who spent most of December sleeping in a seat in a childrens intensive care unit.
Camryn was born on 28 November 2018, weighing just 3lbs 7oz. Felix had gone to hospital for a regular check-up at 32 weeks to be told that both her baby and she were in mortal peril.
Felix suffered from pre-eclampsia – a potentially life-threatening condition for both mother and baby. Her blood pressure was rising while the heart-rate of Camryn decelerated.
And 10 hours after arriving in the dawn, Felix gave birth by emergency Caesarean to Camryn.
Ten months and one day after, Felix procured a record-breaking 12th World Championships gold medal in the 4x400m combined relay in Doha, surpassing Usain Bolt. On Sundays closing day she included gold number 13 since the womens 4x400m relay was won by USA.
Last Christmas if I had been in the hospital that I couldnt have believed whatsoever that I would be in Doha winning awards, she states. This moment that was supposed to be this joyful was happy, but it was really scary and uncertain.
Out of that doubt Felix found purpose. Primarily through a devotion to her daughter at the here and now that saw her spend every waking minute from the intensive care unit. But in addition, she also began a campaign of activism.
May saw the Felix speech a House Ways and Means Committee highlighting that the issue of maternal mortality among black women. In the united states, black girls are more likely to die during childbirth and less likely to suffer from complications.
Introducing herself asCamryns Mother, Felix began her speech with the wordsI would like to share the story of the two most frightening days of my life Looking back it is less raw.
She states:When I was at the hospital, it was such a frightening situation. I feel like I am someone who is privileged and I had been in that situation and was sort of conscious but not educated. And if Im not knowledgeable there are a good deal of women that are educated as well. Talking to Congress needed to occur so as to save lives. It is way larger than sport.
Felix took on sportswear superpower Nike. While dealing with her life since fresh mum she had been included. Nike needed to cover Felix70 percent less than previously, which she said in the time she was willing to take.
What Im disinclined to accept is that the enduring status quo round pregnancy, she wrote in a powerful New York Times article published in May. I asked Nike to contractually guarantee that I wouldnt be penalized if I didnt perform at my best in the months surrounding childbirth. I wished to set a new standard. Who would if I personally, one of Nikes most marketed athletes, could not secure all these protections? Nike fell
Felix received messages of support from women throughout the range of the working world for talking out. And while athletes shared their tales of discrimination, her inspiration was nearer to home.
I continually thought of Camryn, she states.
Ever since I was a teenager growing up in the sport, silence is what I watched. Whether it had been ladies or mates, it might just be [retained ] under wraps. It was only once they had secured a contract.
Id found it time and time again so it got to this point where I did not even question it, I just thought:Oh, that is how things are finished. Until I discovered myself in that circumstance. And I thought:this is not right and That isnt the way things should be performed.
Thinking about Camryn growing up, I was just constantly thinking I wanted it to be very different for her
It will be. In May, Nike announced changes to the own pregnancy contracts that make sure that female athleteswill no longer be financially penalised for having a kid.
Our voices have power, proved to be Felixs easy reaction. That and a movement away from Nike to develop into the face of the new sportswear new Athleta of Gap, announced in July.
Felix has confessed she was scared to even mention having a baby. Can she think the transformation of their previous ten months?
I can not. Its really crazy but at the exact same time I am so happy I have made it , she states.
I hope that we have noticed a bit of shift and that women can decide if they want to begin a family. If they decide to wait then if they opt to get a family early on then or that is great that is also great. But that is about them determining whats right for their own family and not because of any requirements of any monetary penalty or a sponsor or some of the.
For me its so much larger than field and track. That is my passion and I love the sport but I really like that its given me a platform to chat about issues that change lives. That is where I find the meaning. I never could have envisioned it but Im sure glad its happened.
Just saying the phraseactivist now brings a grin to the Americans face.
Thats become the area that I have seen the most development, Felix says. Earlier I was definitely worried about just what the reaction might be on my opinion. The backlash or what the consequences are.
But we are talking about the next generation. I dont need anyone to have to go that I travelled through. Those are the things that I need to modify While I consider the term heritage and those are what I need to be remembered for. And sometimes you have just got to be in a tough circumstance or place to make some progress.
Life as a mother has guaranteed the log of this season has more openings than she might have imagined, although felix has been a big fan of maintaining training diaries throughout her career. In that circumstance, Felix must be proud of her achievements – on and off.
I am usually quite difficult on myself and that I still am, she says. But I believe this season has been very difficult for me and I am proud of myself. As to me I feel like it is all coming very slowly I am quite critical. But when I am ready to look back and appreciate that my health was in question not too long ago I just need to be grateful.
Grateful as an athlete – using six Olympic golds and counting. Grateful as a mom – with a healthy kid. Grateful as an activist – using a voice that is newly-discovered she has every intention of using.
Not grateful to be asked to position her trio of duties.
I feel thats an impossible question, she says. Mother I would need to rank as number one for sure. As a mother you figure things out. You dont have any choice because someone is depending on you. That bit is kind of ready.
And I feel like athlete and activist are coming hand in hand. I feel as though activist is my own responsibility although athlete is my occupation. And a privilege too. Any chance I must talk I shall.
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