Runner Allyson Felix Sets New Medal Record 10 Months After C-Section
USA sprinter Alyson Felix broke Usain Bolt’s record for most World Championship gold medals held when she won her 12th gold medal in the 4x400-meter relay at the World Championships on Sunday in Doha, Qatar. Not only did she, along with her team, set a world record for their time in the event, but she did it just 10 months after giving birth via an emergency c-section.
The International Association of Athletics Federations shared her big win on its Instagram feed, with the caption “Gave birth November 2018. September 2019 she’s a world champion.” The post has racked up more than 28,000 likes.
With 12 World Championship medals now to her name, Felix has surpassed the previous record of 11, which fellow sprinter Bolt set in 2013, according to Business Insider. This latest medal was Felix’s first after prematurely giving birth to her daughter Camryn last November, at 32 weeks pregnant, due to severe preeclampsia.
Fans are ecstatic over Felix’s win. “Amazing! You’re such an inspiration!” one person commented on her Instagram post. “You are THE QUEEN” another gushed. “Boom!!! Incredible! Get it sis!!!” another said.
Felix has fought hard for her success. As if starting motherhood in the NICU wasn’t hard enough, she also dealt with discrimination while renegotiating her sponsorship contract with Nike, which had ended in December 2017. She wrote an article for The New York Times in May, detailing that the brand expected her to take a 70 percent pay cut after giving birth and contractually refused not to penalize her for a decline in performance after becoming a mom.
Though the 33-year-old signed with Athleta in July, becoming the company’s first sponsored athlete, her article helped shed light on the existence of a “pregnancy penalty” and bring about real change. Nike, as well as other brands such as Burton and Altra, have since changed their maternal policies to “protect their athletes’ pay during pregnancy.”
It’s about time these brands caught up—especially considering the amazing feats mom athletes such as Felix and Serena Williams are proving themselves capable of.