Allyson Felix said getting pregnant is known as 'the kiss of death' for Olympic track and field athletes
- US record-breaking sprinter
Allyson Felixtold the TED2022conference that pregnancyhas been called "the kiss of death" in track and field.
- Felix spoke out against Nike's lack of support for pregnant
athletesin a New York Times op-ed in 2019.
Allyson Felix, the most decorated track and field athlete in the US, said getting pregnant in track and field has been called the "kiss of death."
Felix, speaking at the TED2022 conference in Vancouver, Canada on Sunday, said she would begin training at 4 a.m. while she was six months pregnant in 2018.
Felix said she feared that if a fan took a photo of her pregnant, her sponsors would "immediately change their mind" about wanting to work with her.
"How could a six-time Olympic champion, a 16 time world champion, a world record holder, possibly think that her career might be over by doing something as natural as giving a baby?" Felix said. "I'm not exaggerating. Getting pregnant in track and field has been called the 'kiss of death.'"
Felix spoke out against Nike in a 2019 op-ed, saying the company offered to pay her 70% less than her previous contract. Fellow track star Alysia Montano also called out Nike for its failure to support pregnant runners.
Felix, who had worked with Nike between 2000 and 2017, signed with the woman-focused brand Athleta in 2019 before launching her own shoe brand last year. After Felix spoke out, Nike changed its policy to ban performance-related pay reduction for pregnant athletes.
Felix has joined numerous other athletes speaking out on topics like
Simone Biles, one of the most decorated gymnasts of all time, and Naomi Osaka, four-time Grand Slam singles tennis champion, made headlines after pulling out of events and citing mental health reasons. Tennis star Serena Williams has spoken openly about Black maternal health after she said she had to "fight" her doctors to get life-saving tests done while she was pregnant.
"I feared I would have to choose between motherhood and being a competitive athlete," Felix told conference attendees in Vancouver. "I feared the career I worked so hard to build would disappear just like that."
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