Allyson Felix’s record-breaking night and a bronze medal that made her happy – press enterprise

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TOKYO – On the most important night of a trip where she gave voice to so many women, Allyson Felix thought about hers and what she would one day say to her daughter, Camryn, aged 2 years old, of the race in front of her. , the 400-meter final of the Olympic Games.

“I thought about it before going out tonight,” Felix said. “I think the most important thing I want her to know is that when you go out and do something, you do it with character and you do it with integrity and you do it to the best of your ability. This is all anyone can ask of you and if you do that you are proud of it and it is good enough.

This is how Felix left the track on Friday night after the last individual Olympic race in a career that spanned five Games, with his head held high, having run courageously and sincerely, winning an unexpected bronze medal, a triumph in a contest that was never right about running fast.

Shaunae Miller-Uibo of the Bahamas successfully defended the 400 Olympic title she had just beaten Felix five years ago in Rio de Janeiro, scoring 48.36 points at the Olympic Stadium. Maileidy Paulino of the Dominican Republic won the silver in 49.20 with a late push.

And there was Felix, 35, in lane 9, a long shot just to make the USA squad, fighting every step until she crossed the finish line in 49.46. for her the 10th Olympic medal, the most ever by a woman and equaling Carl Lewis as America’s most decorated athlete.

Felix, who played in high school in Los Angeles Baptist, is expected to hit the Olympic track one last time on Saturday night as part of Team USA’s 4 × 400 relay and try for an 11th medal, his seventh gold.

“I don’t really rank them,” Felix said of his medals. “This one is so different. Honestly this is my first bronze medal, oh man that’s hard to describe. I feel like everyone else was so focused on performance. This one is so much bigger than that. That’s all I can sort of explain. I was there running, but felt like I was a representation of so much more than trying to get off the track.

Since his duel with Miller-Uibo in Rio, Felix has married, had Camryn, started a shoe business and has become a leading voice for maternity protection and health, especially in Afro communities. -american and minority.

“Her legacy just shows everyone that you can do whatever you want to do,” said sprinter Gabby Thomas, who anchored the United States to a silver in the 4 × 100 relay on Friday night. “She didn’t let anything stop her.”

Her May 2019 editorial in the New York Times criticizing Nike’s maternity policies has sparked a national conversation on the subject.

Felix, long one of Nike’s most recognizable female athletes, explained in the article how the Beaverton, Oregon company offered her a 70% pay cut during contract negotiations in December 2017. Felix, who was pregnant at the time, also said Nike did not put clear guarantees in the contract for the maternity protections it had requested.

“I was one of the most marketed Nike athletes,” wrote Felix. “If I can’t guarantee maternity protection, who can? ”

Felix recently told the time that her “stomach fell” when Nike asked her to participate in a women’s empowerment commercial for the company during maternity protection negotiations.

“I was like, it’s more than disrespectful and deaf,” she said.

Nike changed its maternity policy after Felix’s editorial, including guaranteeing athletes salaries and bonuses for 18 months around pregnancy. But by then, Felix had left Nike and signed a clothing contract with Athleta. She recently announced that she is also launching a line of shoes called Saysh.

“We are working to change industry standards,” Felix said Friday night. “I think it’s going to be a long battle. I just think moms deserve funding and support. There is a lot of work to be done. But I hope I have drawn attention to these things. This is what I was trying to do.

Felix was receiving his 32 week checkup when he was diagnosed with preeclampsia, a pregnancy complication characterized by high blood pressure and damage to the liver and kidneys that can be fatal to both mother and baby. Felix underwent an emergency cesarean. Camryn weighed 3 pounds and 8 ounces at birth.

In a soul-carrying photograph, Felix, draped in some of her Olympic medals, posed with her Caesarean scar visible on Instagram recently to announce the launch of Saysh.

“I would never have thought that using my voice would have led NIKE to change its maternity policy for athletes and I certainly never thought that would lead to creating @bysaysh,” she wrote on the post. . “Keep going and keep talking, even if your voice is shaking.”

This courage was also evident in the home stretch of Friday night’s final. Despite a resume that also includes 18 World Championship medals, including 13 gold, Felix was written off ahead of the Olympic Trials and then struck off again in Tokyo.

“I still believe in myself. I trust my training. I trust Bobby, ”she said, referring to longtime coach Bobby Kersee. “By the grace of God I feel like I am here but I am also a fan of the sport. I hear the chatter. I’ve heard people think I’m far from being on the American team. I know I wasn’t a choice for the medals, but you know, give me a chance.

“No one thought I was going to be here. No one thought I was going to be in the final except Bobby and my family. I am a fighter. In recent years, that’s what I have been doing. So I knew ”

She finished with her best time since 2015. But on Friday night it was never just the time for the women she touched, the mothers and daughters, and the fighter who gave them a voice, even though she sometimes trembled.

“This one,” said Felix, speaking of his new Olympic medal, “You know what, I was thinking about it before, it’s really hard for me when I’m not winning to still have joy.

“Tonight I have joy.”

Allyson Felix Olympic medals

2008 Beijing – 4 × 400m relay – gold

2012 London – 200m – gold

2012 London – 4 × 100m relay – gold

2012 London – 4 × 400m relay – gold

2016 Rio de Janeiro – 4 × 100m relay – gold

2016 Rio de Janeiro – 4 × 400m relay – gold

2004 Athens – 200m – silver

2008 Beijing – 200m – silver

2016 Rio de Janeiro – 400m – silver

2020 Tokyo – 400m – bronze


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