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

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By Tom Reynolds
BBC Sport at Doha
Being the most prosperous athlete in World Championships history as she did Doha – could have been all-consuming for Allyson Felix. She has been changed by the last 12 months .
With a baby has also given birth to the activist. Felix is no longer a willing participant in theculture of silence around maternity rights in elite athletics. She has discovered her voice.
Hence the three words which dominate the homepage of her website:
Athlete. Mother. Activist.
Felix the mother is currently running late. We match on the 42nd floor of her resort overlooking the Gulf.
Together with the World Athletics Championships in the town, these plush surroundings are excellent for a Olympic sprint champion, but not for old girl Camryn. Her body clock has yet to adjust to the Middle East and as a consequence Felix, 33, was up through the night.
It is not a new experience for somebody who spent a lot of last December sleeping in a chair in a childrens intensive care unit.
Camryn was born on 28 weighing only 3lbs 7oz. Felix had gone to hospital for a routine check-up at 32 weeks to be advised that both she and her infant were in mortal danger.
Felix was suffering from pre-eclampsia – a condition for both infant and mother. Her blood pressure had been climbing while the heart-rate of Camryn decelerated.
And 10 hours after arriving at dawn, Felix gave birth by emergency Caesarean.
Ten months and a day after, Felix procured a record-breaking 12th World Championships gold medal in the 4x400m mixed relay in Doha, surpassing Usain Bolt. On Sunday day she added gold number 13 because the womens 4x400m relay was won by USA.
Last Christmas if I was in the hospital that I couldnt have thought at all that Id be here in Doha winning awards, she states. This instant that was supposed to be this joyful was joyful, but it was really frightening and uncertain
Out of the doubt Felix found purpose. Mainly through a devotion to her daughter at the here and saw her spend every waking moment in the intensive care unit. However, in addition, she also started a effort of activism.
May saw the normally shy Felix address a House Ways and Means Committee highlighting the dilemma of maternal mortality among women. In the USA girls are more likely to die during childbirth and less likely to suffer complications.
Presenting herself Camryns Mother, Felix began her address with the wordsI would like to share the story of the two most frightening days of my life. Looking back it is less sore.
She states:When I was in the hospital, it had been such a scary situation. I really feel like I am and I was in that situation and was kind of conscious but not entirely educated. And when Im not fully knowledgeable then are a good deal of women who are educated also. Talking to Congress needed to happen so as to save lives. It is way bigger than game.
Felix took over maternity rights for both athletes on sportswear superpower Nike. She was involved while dealing as new mother with her life. Nike wanted to cover Felix70% less than before, which she said at the time she had been ready to take.
What I am disinclined to take is the enduring status quo around pregnancy, she wrote in a powerful New York Times article published in May. I asked Nike to contractually ensure I wouldnt be punished if I did not work at my best in the weeks surrounding childbirth. I wanted to set a fresh benchmark. Who could, if I , one of Nikes most broadly promoted athletes, couldnt shield all these protections? Nike fell
Felix received messages of support from women across the spectrum for talking out, of this world. And while athletes shared their stories of discrimination, her greatest inspiration was nearer to home.
I continually thought of Camryn, she says.
Ever since I was a teen growing up in the sport, quiet is what I watched. Whether it had been women or teammates, it could only be [kept] . It was only after they had secured a contract.
I had found it time and time again so it got to this point where I did not even question it, I just thought:Oh, so that is the way things are finished. Until I discovered myself in this circumstance. And I thought:That isnt the way and this is not perfect.
Thinking about Camryn rising up, I was just constantly thinking I wanted it to be very different for her.
It will be. In May, Nike announced changes to its maternity contracts that ensure that female athleteswill not more be financially penalised for using a child.
Our voices have power, was Felixs easy reaction. That and a move from Nike to develop into the face of the new sportswear new Athleta of Gap, declared in July.
Felix has confessed she was scared to even mention using a baby. Can she think the transformation of the previous ten months?
I can not. It is really mad but at exactly the identical time I am so happy I have made it , she states.
I expect that we have seen a bit of shift and that women can decide when they want to begin a household. If they decide to wait thats great or if they choose to have a family early on then that is also terrific. But that is about them determining what is appropriate for their own loved ones and not due to any demands of a host or any penalty or some of that.
For me its so much larger than field and track. Thats my passion and I love the sport but I love that its given me a platform. Thats where I find that the very best significance. I never could have envisioned it but I am sure glad its happened.
Just saying the termactivist now brings a grin to the Americans face.
That has become the area that I have seen the most growth, Felix says. Earlier I was definitely worried about just what the reaction might be to my view. The backlash or whatever the consequences would be.
But we are referring to another generation. I dont need anyone to have to go which I moved through. When I consider the term heritage those are what that I need to change and these are the things I want to be remembered for. And sometimes you have just must be in a difficult situation or position to make some progress
Life as a new mother has assured the log of this season has more openings than she could have imagined, although felix has ever been a major fan of maintaining training diaries during her career. In that circumstance, Felix must be proud of her achievements – on and off.
Im usually quite difficult on myself and that I still am, she states. But I think this year has been really difficult for me and I am proud of myself. As to me I feel like it all is coming very slowly, I am still quite critical of this athlete side. But when I am ready to look back and appreciate that my health was in question not too long ago then I just need to be thankful
Grateful with six golds as well as counting – as a athlete. Grateful as a mom – with a kid. Grateful as a activist – with a voice that is newly-discovered that she has every intention of using.
Not thankful to be asked to rank her trio of duties.
I feel thats a hopeless question, she states. Mother I would need to rank as number one for certain. As a mother you figure out things . You have no option because somebody is depending on you. That piece is kind of ready.
And I feel as if athlete and activist are arriving in hand. Athlete is my job but I feel like activist is my own duty. Along with a privilege as well. Any opportunity I have to talk I shall.
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It throws to distance and cross country running or sprints and has one of the broadest ranges of selection in game, from leaps.
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