Olympic sprinter Allyson Felix says she feared having a baby would damage her athletic career — and then she beat Usain Bolt’s gold medal record at 10 months postpartum.
“So many things in my life had changed,” Felix told TODAY Parents on Monday about giving birth by emergency C-section in November 2018. “My body had gone through so much and I was scared I wouldn’t be able to return to that top level, which is all I’ve ever known.”
In September 2019 Felix returned to the international stage at the World Athletics Championship, where she won her 12th gold medal, surpassing Bolt’s 11 gold medal record.
“One of the best parts was hearing from other moms,” Felix told TODAY Parents. “To feel like I could represent them, that was the coolest thing.”
At the time, she said it was “so special” to have her daughter, Camryn — along with her husband, fellow sprinter Kenneth Ferguson — watching her secure her 12th gold with the mixed-gender 4×400-meter relay.
Now she has sights on the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, though she says she misses 15-month-old Camryn when she’s training.
“That’s really rough for me,” Felix told TODAY Parents. “I’m trying to be kind to myself. It doesn’t come naturally, but I’m trying. There are going to be days I feel like I’m not winning at home and that is OK.”
She said she blocks off one day a week to spend one-on-one time with Camryn, and often they go to Gymboree or swimming lessons.
Felix gave birth to Camryn at 32 weeks after experiencing severe preeclampsia, a potentially dangerous condition marked by high blood pressure.
During her pregnancy she detailed a feud she was facing with Nike, saying in a May 2019 op-ed in The New York Times that the brand had asked her to take a 70% pay cut on a new contract. Her deal with Nike ended in December 2017.
Originally published on Business Insider.
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