Allyson Felix: Always Remembered
By: Amy Li
She snatched the spotlight in 2003, when she secured her qualifications for her first world championship. In the nineteen years she was on the track, she achieved her place in the history of track with gold medals and records. This April, Allyson Felix announced that 2022 will be her last year in the sport.
An article published in the sports column of BBC News mentioned that Felix has won more Olympic medals than other American track-and-field athletes. Out of the eleven medals she has secured, seven were gold medals. She has gained more World Championships medals than anyone else, with an outstanding record of nineteen medals earned in five events, with thirteen of them being gold.
What was even more impressive is that she still manages to sit steady on her throne after experiencing problems like pre-eclampsia around the time her daughter was born, and no tracks to train on due to COVID-19. She is still one of the world’s most successful athletes, earning two relay gold medals in Doha during World Championships, and earning a third-place Olympics medal even though she struggled to find tracks.
Being a female athlete, she uses her presence in the sports world to voice the needs of women and African-Americans. When she discovered she had pre-eclampsia, a medical condition with symptoms including vomiting, high blood-pressure, nausea, headache, bellyache, and generally feeling ill, she made it public that this could potentially kill her daughter, Camryn, who what born eight weeks prematurely because of the condition. Afterwards, she spoke at the US Congress as “Camryn’s mother.”
“After enduring the two most terrifying days of my life, I learned my story was not so uncommon,” she said. “There were others like me, just like me... Black like me, healthy like me and doing their best, just like me. And they faced death like me, too.” She claims that there is a certain level of racial bias towards people of color in the healthcare system, and there should be more support provided towards people of color during pregnancies.
Felix also acts as a voice for women, speaking out against unfair treatments. For example, Nike wanted to pay her 70 percent less now that she’s a mother. She wrote an opinion piece published in the New York Times. She wrote that she knew expressing herself hurts her career, but silence is not going to better situations like this. “It’s one example of a sports industry where the rules are still mostly made for and by men,” she stated.
Three months later, Nike changed their policy on maternity pay, and promised not to cut earnings for eighteen consecutive months before the due date of pregnant athletes. She continues using her influence to spread female rights. This year, she partnered with a sponsor that provides free childcare to athletes.
Maybe Felix isn’t running on the track anymore. Maybe that’s the case, but her legacy on the track is written down in track history. She is running differently now; she is running for female rights. “I'm hoping will make the world better for women,” she said.