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An American Sprinter Just Beat a Gold Medal Record Set by Usain Bolt, a Year After Being Dropped by Nike

USA sprinter Allyson Felix beat Usain Bolt’s gold medal record at the World Athletics Championships on Sunday.

Allyson Felix/Usain Bolt

USA sprinter Allyson Felix became the most successful ever athlete at the World Athletics Championships when she won a record breaking 12th gold medal on Sunday.

Felix, 33, won gold in the mixed-gender 4x400m relay to secure the gold, in turn topping Usain Bolt’s record of 11, which has stood since 2013.

The medal was also her first since returning the sport after prematurely giving birth to her first daughter, Camryn, in November 2018.

“So special, to have my daughter here watching means the world to me,” Felix said after the victory, according to AFP . “It’s been a crazy year for me.”

Felix gave birth to her daughter via an emergency C-section at 32 weeks late last year, after suffering severe preeclampsia.

Throughout her pregnancy, the American detailed her struggle to maintain her image as a world class athlete, particularly with sponsor Nike, whom she said were unsupportive of her taking a break from athletics to start a family.

In May 2019, she provided a full account of her feud with Nike in the New York Times , when she wrote an article which detailed how the brand had asked her to take a 70% pay cut on a new contract after becoming a mother, and declined to contractually agree not to punish her should her performance decline.

Her deal with Nike, which ended in December 2017, was not extended, however the brand have since changed its policy on pregnant athletes subsequent to Felix’s article, meaning female athletes who are pregnant cannot suffer performance-related deductions for 18 months after.

Felix posted a statement she received from Nike after the rule change on her Instagram, saying “Our voices have power.”

The 33-year-old signed a new sponsorship deal with Athleta in July, becoming the companies first ever sponsored athlete.


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