Well-Being//

Olympic Runner Allyson Felix Says She Didn’t Think She’d be at Her ‘Top Level’ After Having a Baby. Just 10 Months Later She Smashed Usain Bolt’s Gold Medal Record.

"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."

By Andy Lyons/Getty Images
By Andy Lyons/Getty Images

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.

More from Business Insider:

Stop trying to make your employees happy — fulfill them instead

I didn’t take maternity leave as a self-employed worker, and I regret it

American workers say jobs should do more to help them cope with mental health issues like depression and stress

Follow us here and subscribe here for all the latest news on how you can keep Thriving.

Stay up to date or catch-up on all our podcasts with Arianna Huffington here.

Share your comments below. Please read our commenting guidelines before posting. If you have a concern about a comment, report it here.

Sign up for the Thrive Global newsletter

Will be used in accordance with our privacy policy.

Thrive Global
People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

- MARCUS AURELIUS

We use cookies on our site to give you the best experience possible. By continuing to browse the site, you agree to this use. For more information on how we use cookies, see our Privacy Policy.