Sprint Legend Allyson Felix in Eight Facts

LISTICLE | 07/07/2021

As a sprinter she is a legend - and she will probably also become one as a fierce mother. Allyson Felix didn't let a difficult birth with a Caesarean section, a miserable dispute with her sponsor Nike or the Corona pandemic stop her from competing in the Tokyo Olympics. Now 35, she wants to add the icing on the cake to her glittering career there and possibly give her career as a young entrepreneur a decisive boost along the way.



The long list of successes

Actually, it's shameful, but despite her great successes, Allyson Felix has not become one of the very big sports names in Germany. Therefore, here is an excerpt of her successes, which she won over the distance of 100 meters, 200 meters and 400 meters alone and in the relay.

  • 12 world championship titles, more than anyone else.
  • In addition, three silver and two bronze medals at world championships.
  • 6 gold and 3 silver medals at the Olympic Games, no female track and field athlete has won more medals.

In Tokyo, one or even more medals could be added. Felix will compete in the 400 meters, probably also in the women's 4 X400 meter relay and maybe also in the mixed 4x400 meter relay, allowed for the first time in Tokyo. In the 200 metres, however, where she won the gold medal in London in 2012, she missed out on qualifying.


Her motto in life: Know your place!

It's a subtle sideswipe that Allyson Felix makes with this motto. And at Nike headquarters in Beaverton in the US state of Oregon, many a manager should look down on the floor in shame when he reads this motto on Felix's shoes at the Tokyo Olympics. "Know your place" is written under the brand name Saysh of the shoe brand founded by Allyson Felix herself. Yes, she knows her place - namely, where even a postpartum mother can pursue her passion and calling. That was not the case with Nike, the corporation wanted to pay the superstar 70 percent less after her pregnancy. With other sportswomen, Allyson Felix made this procedure public. Afterwards she left Nike altogether - first to the competition, now to her own brand. She knows her place!


The simple necessity

Some might say that Allyson Felix has thought it up: She kicks Nike in the shins to sell her own products. But in fact, she experienced the sheer misery of an established athlete who, despite her successes, was taken advantage of harshly. She had to work out at 4:30 in the morning while five months pregnant to hide her pregnancy from her sponsor, she reported in a recent Instagram post. In a photo accompanying it, she showed off her numerous medals - and her belly, which still showed the scar from her C-section. At least Nike has moved in the meantime, though - in the case of pregnancy, payments to Nike-sponsored women remain unchanged for a year and a half.


Traumatizing birth

Allyson Felix, despite being a superstar, not only shared the fate with lesser-known athletes of being disadvantaged by pregnancy. She also shares the fate with many women who find the birth of their child traumatizing. She had always wanted to be a mother, she told Today Parents magazine. Under pressure from her sponsors, she ran competitions while still pregnant. That seemed to work - but then doctors diagnosed her with high blood pressure and her daughter with a low heartbeat.

In the 32nd week of pregnancy she had an emergency Caesarean section. She couldn't even wait for her husband to arrive. Daughter Camryn ended up being born premature, but healthy. Still, her mother worried for a long time about what happened to her. "I'm an athlete. I take great care of my body and was in perfect health." But then, she said, she experienced that no one is immune from the risks. And she learned, she said, that of all the industrialized nations, the United States has the highest maternal mortality rate, and here black women are particularly affected. Since then, she has shared her experience and sees herself as an advocate for mothers - which was another reason why she pilloried Nike.


Maybe an elementary school teacher someday?

If her daughter needs help in school in a few years, the mom can certainly help. Allyson Felix studied to become an elementary school teacher several years ago, parallel to her athletic career. She announced early on that she wanted to work in the job someday - but the proof is yet to come. But maybe she'll get the kick out of cramming multiplication tables at the kitchen table with her daughter and her daughter's friends one day.


Faithful competitive athlete with chicken legs

"The fact that I can run so fast is a gift from God," Felix says. She describes herself as a deeply devout Christian. Her father Paul is even a theologian. Faith also helped her to seek comfort. She sometimes needed it because, curiously, she was laughed at for a long time for her greatest strength. Her classmates mocked her as "Chicken legs" because of her long thin legs. Animal comparisons are made with her name to this day - though she is now described as a "gazelle" because of her elegant running style.


The somewhat different "Project Faith

Those who speak of a "project of faith" should not think of church and co. when they think of the runner. This is the title of the anti-doping program in which she voluntarily participated more than ten years ago. For a long time, skeptics thought the program was too good to be true for the athletics scene, which has been hit by more and more new doping scandals. But to date, it has remained clean. And it is possible that what Allyson Felix once said is true. Namely, that Olympic champion Marion Jones, later convicted of doping, was her great idol and then became her great disappointment with her exposure. "That opened my eyes to reality. Today I have a responsibility to young athletes who look up to me."


Video chats with the dog

What for us mere mortals only became a forced part of everyday life with the Corona pandemic, Felix has known for years: At some point during her many travels, she began using video telephony. But not with any colleagues, but with her dog. Yorkshire Terrier Chloe always missed her most during her absences before the birth of her daughter. So at one point Chloe got to sit on Allyson's mum's lap and bark at her mistress via Skype. Skyping with Chloe always helped her sort out her thoughts again and feel connected to home while traveling, Felix later recalled. When the Yorkshire Terrier, with whom she also filmed a commercial, died in 2016, her grief was great.

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