Everything to Know About Allyson Felix, the Runner Who Just Broke Usain Bolt's Gold Medal Record
Olympic runner Allyson Felix is amazing, full stop. But don't just take our word for it, let the facts speak for themselves: On Sunday, Felix won her 12th gold medal at the track and field World Championships, breaking the previous record she once shared with sprinter Usain Bolt for the most gold medals at the competition.
That's right, Felix, 33, snagged the gold during the 4×400 meter mixed-gender relay in Doha, Qatar, giving her one more gold medal than Bolt, who's known as "the fastest man alive." The cherry on top of her incredible feat? Felix gave birth to a baby girl less than a year ago.
Want to know about this record-breaking mama? Here are the details on Felix, her accomplishments and where she's headed next.
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Who Is Allyson Felix?
Prior to Sunday, Felix was already one of the most decorated track and field athletes with a range of medals that include six gold and three silver Olympic medals. In addition to the 4×400 meter relay, Felix has also medaled in the 200 and 400-meter events.
Felix snagged her gold medal at Sunday's World Championships along with relay teammates Michael Cherry, Wil London III, and Courtney Okolo. The team ran a time of 3 minutes, 9.34 seconds, with Felix running a 50.4-second split, according to USA Today.
Felix tweeted a one-word response to Sunday's achievement: "Humbled."
How Has Motherhood Has Affected Her Career?
Felix gave birth to her daughter Camryn on Nov. 28 during an emergency C-section, the result of complications related to severe preeclampsia, according to People. Symptoms of preeclampsia include high blood pressure, water retention, headaches and blurred vision, according to the American Pregnancy Association. The condition affects five to eight percent of pregnancies.
"It’s different, definitely challenging," Felix told People of hitting the track shortly after giving birth so that she could prepare for the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo. "I think for any new mom when she [returns] to work just — you’re exhausted and you’re balancing your family and what it all looks like. So it’s no different from me."
In December 2018, Felix wrote an op-ed for ESPN in which she said her journey to motherhood hadn't been easy. While she said she had "always wanted to be a mother," Felix kept the news of her pregnancy to herself.
"Having a child felt like I'd be risking my career and disappointing everyone who expected me to always put running first," Felix wrote.
But, eventually, Felix shared the news of her pregnancy in hopes that it would help other women who were worried that starting a family might affect their work life.
"If I come back and I'm just not the same, if I can't make a fifth Olympic team, I'm gonna know that I fought, that I was determined, and that I gave it my absolute all," she wrote. "And if it doesn't end up the way I imagined in my head, it'll be OK. I just have to go for it, because that's just simply who we are now."
And Felix said Sunday's win was made more momentous by the fact that her daughter was in the stands: “To have my daughter here watching means the world to me,” she told NBCSN. “It’s been a crazy year for me.”
What's the Deal with Nike?
Unfortunately, Felix's journey to motherhood did affect her career, at least when it came to her then-sponsor Nike. After giving birth to Camryn, Felix wrote an op-ed in The New York Times where she detailed her experience with the brand and its treatment of pregnant athletes. Felix said she was inspired to tell her story after her fellow former Nike teammates Alysia Montaño and Kara Goucher shared their own stories about their experiences with the company.
"I felt pressure to return to form as soon as possible after the birth of my daughter in November 2018, even though I ultimately had to undergo an emergency C-section at 32 weeks because of severe pre-eclampsia that threatened the lives of me and my baby," Felix wrote. "Meanwhile, negotiations were not going well."
Felix continued, noting that the company wanted to pay her 70% less following the birth of her child.
The brand — and several others, including Burton, Altra, Nuun and Brooks — eventually changed its contracts to protect female athletes who become pregnant. But Felix had moved on, and became the first athlete to be sponsored by Athleta, according to CNN.
You can catch Felix chasing her dreams at next year's 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.