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Allyson Felix, who finished last year’s Tokyo Games with more Olympic medals than any US track and field athlete in history, has announced her intention to retire after the 2022 season concludes.
‘This season isn’t about the time on the clock, it’s simply about joy,’ Felix said in an Instagram post Wednesday. ‘If you see me on the track this year I hope to share a moment, a memory and my appreciation with you.’
At age 35, Felix won a bronze medal in the 400 meters last summer in Tokyo, then followed it up with a gold medal in the 4×400 relay.
‘As a little girl they called chicken legs, never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined I’d have a career like this,’ read Felix’s post. ‘I have so much gratitude for this sport that has changed my life. I have given everything I have to running and for the first time I’m not sure if I have anything left to give. I want to say goodbye and thank you to the sport and people who have helped shape me the only way I know how—with one last run.’
Allyson Felix, who finished last year’s Tokyo Games with more Olympic medals than any US track athlete in history, has announced her intention to retire after the 2022 season concludes
Allyson Felix kisses her husband Kenneth Ferguson while holding her daughter Camryn after day nine of the 2020 US Olympic Trials at Hayward Field last year in Eugene, Oregon
At age 35, Felix won a bronze medal in the 400 meters last summer in Tokyo, then followed it up with a gold medal in the 4×400 relay. ‘As a little girl they called chicken legs, never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined I’d have a career like this,’ read Felix’s post. ‘I have so much gratitude for this sport that has changed my life. I have given everything I have to running and for the first time I’m not sure if I have anything left to give. I want to say goodbye and thank you to the sport and people who have helped shape me the only way I know how—with one last run’
Those were her 10th and 11th Olympic medals, which helped her pass Carl Lewis in the US record book and left her behind only one runner in history, Finland’s Paavo Nurmi, who won 12 medals between 1920 and 1928.
Her last major meets figure to be the US championships from June 23-26, then the world championships, which take place in Eugene, Oregon, from July 15-24.
Felix also has a record 13 gold medals and 18 overall from world championships.
In her Instagram post, she said: ‘This season I’m running for women. I’m running for a better future for my daughter.’
Now she’s become an outspoken advocate for women, in part, as a result of a difficult pregnancy.
Camryn, her daughter with her sprinter husband, Kenneth Ferguson, was born in 2018. Felix has spoken candidly about the struggle to come back from the difficult pregnancy that led to an emergency C-section and put the lives of both her and her baby in jeopardy. Camryn actually spent time in the neonatal intensive-care unit after she was born.
Bronze medal winner Allyson Felix of Team United States interacts with teammate Quanera Hayes after competing in the Women’s 400m Final on day fourteen of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Olympic Stadium on August 6, 2021
US athlete Allyson Felix runs during the women’s 4x400m relay final at the National stadium as part of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games on August 23, 2008. The United States won the Olympic women’s 4×400-meter relay title in a time of 3mins 18.54secs
Felix celebrates with her husband Kenneth Ferguson and their daughter Camryn after finishing second in the Women’s 400 Meters Final at the 2020 U.S. Olympic Track & Field Team Trials
A view of the Saysh shoes worn by Allyson Felix of Team United States as she competes in the Women’s 400m Semi-Final on day twelve of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games
Allyson Felix of Team USA reacts after winning the bronze medal in the Women’s 400m Final on day fourteen of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Olympic Stadium on August 6, 2021
Around the same time, Felix cut ties with Nike, upset with the way the company treated pregnant athletes.
‘I asked Nike to contractually guarantee that I wouldn’t be punished if I didn’t perform at my best in the months surrounding childbirth,’ Felix wrote in a New York Times op-ed in May of 2019. ‘I wanted to set a new standard. If I, one of Nike’s most widely marketed athletes, couldn’t secure these protections, who could?
Camryn, Allyson, and Kenneth Ferguson
‘Nike declined. We’ve been at a standstill ever since.’
Felix has since launched her own athletic shoe brand, Saysh, which she wore on the medal podium in Tokyo.
‘My first year back was a struggle, and I just kept getting hit with thing after thing,’ Felix told the Associated Press before the Tokyo Games began. ‘There was the sponsorship battle [with Nike], and I was just ‘Man, I hope something comes together for me.’ I just kept fighting. I wanted to give it one more shot.’
She’s spoken of the pressure she felt to return quickly, even when her body wasn’t responding the way it once did.
Felix also overcame one of her biggest hurdles – leaving her well-cultivated private image behind to become a spokesperson for something much bigger.
‘When I line up for a race, I’m normally afraid,’ she said in a heartfelt essay on social media, posted only hours before winning bronze in Tokyo. ‘I’m not afraid of losing. I lose much more than I win. That’s life and I think that’s how it’s supposed to be.’
FELIX SHARES ‘TRAUMA’ OF 2018 EMERGENCY C-SECTION BIRTH
By Erica Tempesta for DailyMail.com
In December, Allyson Felix opened up about the ‘traumatic’ moment she was separated from her newborn daughter after giving birth via emergency cesarean section when she was eight months pregnant.
The 36-year-old Olympian reflected on her childbirth experience and the month her now three-year-old daughter Camryn spent in the neonatal intensive care unit during her appearance on People‘s podcast Me Becoming Mom.
Felix was 32 weeks pregnant when she was diagnosed with life-threatening pre-eclampsia. The mom, who was admitted to the hospital and had an emergency C-section in November 2018, said they were the ‘scariest two days of her life.’
Allyson Felix, 36, opened up about the birth of her now three-year-old daughter Camryn during her appearance on People’s podcast Me Becoming Mom
‘They did the surgery. And I remember breaking down shortly after because they had to take Camryn away right away. I barely got to see her face,’ she recalled.
‘I remember there was this quick moment where they put her on my shoulder and I remember we had made the decision that my husband [Kenneth Ferguson] would go with her,’ she continued.
‘And so I was talking with him for a second, I was like, ‘I didn’t get to see her face. I didn’t really get to see it.’
‘And it was this traumatic moment for me where I had imagined this skin-to-skin moment and this beautiful thing and it was like, okay, I just had a baby, but where is she? Is she okay? It just wasn’t how I had imagined it to be.’
Felix celebrated her second place finish in the 400-meter run with a kiss from her daughter at the U.S. Olympic track and field trials in June
Camryn weighed ‘just over 3 pounds’ when Felix finally held her for the first time.
‘She was itty-bitty and she had all the tubes and there was an IV. And when they’re that small it had to go through her head,’ she explained. ‘And so, obviously she’s hooked up to all these different things. And I would soon learn what all of that meant.’
Felix remained in the hospital for ‘about eight days,’ but her baby had to stay in the NICU for an entire month.
‘I think that’s probably the worst. Going home from the hospital without a baby. It’s like, this is just wrong,’ she said.
Felix shared that it was difficult to be confronted with so much loss in the NICU, saying it is ‘just such a heavy place.’
‘We’re in a pod and we have our own room, but there’s also all these other families that are in this situation,’ she explained.
She was 32 weeks pregnant when she was diagnosed with life-threatening pre-eclampsia and and had an emergency cesarean section in November 2018
‘And you’re seeing the severity of some people’s situation. There are some good days and there are some days where parents are losing children.’
Felix shared her pregnancy story with the New York Times in 2019, less than two weeks after the outlet reported that Nike had penalized women for decreases in performance while they were pregnant.
‘I decided to start a family in 2018 knowing that pregnancy can be ‘the kiss of death’ in my industry, as the runner Phoebe Wright put it in The Times last week,’ Felix wrote in her op-ed.
The athlete said it was a ‘terrifying time’ for her because she was negotiating a renewal of her contract with Nike after it ended in December 2017.
Felix explained that she felt pressure to return to training as soon as possible, despite undergoing an emergency C-section at 32 weeks because she was suffering from pre-eclampsia.
‘Despite all my victories, Nike wanted to pay me 70 percent less than before. If that’s what they think I’m worth now, I accept that,’ she said. ‘What I’m not willing to accept is the enduring status quo around maternity.
‘I asked Nike to contractually guarantee that I wouldn’t be punished if I didn’t perform at my best in the months surrounding childbirth.
‘I wanted to set a new standard. If I, one of Nike’s most widely marketed athletes, couldn’t secure these protections, who could? Nike declined. We’ve been at a standstill ever since.’
Felix said she broke down shortly after she gave birth because Camryn had to be taken away to the NICU. Her daughter weighed ‘just over 3 pounds’ when she finally held her for the first time
Source: Daily Mail