On Sunday, USA Olympic sprinter Allyson Felix broke Usain Bolt's World Championships record after winning her 12th gold medal on the mixed-gender 4x400m relay team. The 33-year-old now holds the record for the most gold medals at the track and field World Championships.
Felix accomplished this feat on day three of 17th IAAF World Athletics Championships Doha 2019 at Khalifa International Stadium in Doha, Qatar. The sprinter, one of the most decorated track and field athletes, has won a combined nine medals, six of which are gold, between each of her four Olympic games. She responded to the honor in a one-word tweet, "Humbled."
What makes this achievement even more impressive, is that nearly a year ago, Felix battled preeclampsia and underwent an emergency C-section to deliver her daughter at 32 weeks. In an interview with ESPN, she spoke about maintaining the image of a world-class athlete while pregnant as well as the pain of watching her daughter recover in the NICU. She also discussed returning to the track.
"If I come back and I'm just not the same, if I can't make a fifth Olympic team, I'm gonna know that I fought, that I was determined, and that I gave it my absolute all. And if it doesn't end up the way I imagined in my head; it'll be OK. I just have to go for it, because that's just simply who we are now," she said.
In the end, Felix will be going to her fifth Olympic games. Her fight, however, has not only been on the track and in the delivery room. In August, she was one of several female athletes that compelled Nike to change their maternity policies for its sponsored athletes.
Felix, as well as Alysia Montaño, Kara Goucher and Phoebe Wright, successfully persuaded the brand to modify its policy so that female athletes won't be "adversely impacted financially for pregnancy" for 18 months, which is six months more than under the previous policy.
View this post on Instagram
#9 Life looks different. Cammy is 10 months old today. Figuring out this mom life. I’ve had to fight a lot this year- for my health, for my daughter, for women & mothers, for what I deserve and for my fitness. I’m really proud to be at my 9th world championships and this one is extra special because my baby girl is in the stadium to watch it all. #WorldAthleticsChamps
Felix has left Nike and is now the first athlete to be sponsored by Athleta, according to parent company Gap, Inc. She will next compete in Tokyo during the 2020 Olympics.
Felix was born and raised in California. The daughter of Paul, an ordained minister and professor of New Testament at The Master's Seminary in Santa Clarita Valley, California, and Marlean, an elementary school teacher at Balboa Magnet Elementary, she describes her running ability as a gift from God, "For me, my faith is the reason I run. I definitely feel I have this amazing gift that God has blessed me with, and it's all about using it to the best of my ability." She is married to Kenneth Ferguson and their daughter Camryn was born last year.