NEW YORK (Reuters) – Allyson Felix is looking for a possible fifth Olympiad a year ago that is second to none – and yet the goal is the same in many ways, especially for athletes.
Allyson Felix (USA) completed the second leg in the 4 x 400 m relay of the US women, which won their run in 3: 22.96 minutes during the IAAF World Athletics Championships at the Khalifa International Stadium. Mandatory source: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports / File Photo
In the roughly 15 months since his birth, Felix has worked out a new role on and off the track by campaigning for better performance for working mothers and maintaining their competitive advantage to expand their long list of benefits.
The 34-year-old six-time Olympic champion will be the biggest name at the NYRR Millrose Games on Saturday at the Armory in New York as the most awarded American athlete.
But life could hardly be any different than it did at their first Olympic Games 16 years ago.
"I feel more responsible now," Felix told Reuters. "Of course, qualifying and pursuing gold medals is still at the top of my list, but I also feel the opportunity to show my daughter so many things, show a lot to other girls, and really stand up for many of my values."
After his birth in November 2018, Felix returned to the competition last year and drove the record-breaking 4×400-meter mixed relay at the World Championships in the USA.
"Since the last year is a year after pregnancy, it's not my usual development," said Felix, whose daughter Camryn was added to her entourage on the way to competitions and training sessions.
"(I'm just trying to be really smart, be patient and stick to the plan – it's always difficult as an athlete."
However, the challenges of pregnancy went beyond the physical realm: in May last year, Felix wrote a statement in the New York Times that she was exposed to potential wage cuts from sponsors like Nike for children.
"It was definitely out of my comfort zone to talk about a super personal situation," she said. "But I think the admission of women across all industries has been very encouraging."
The 16-time World Cup medalist also praised middle-distance runner Mary Cain for speaking out against coach Alberto Salazar for alleged abuse at the Nike Oregon Project.
"It only speaks for the power of the collective and what is happening to women and sport right now and she just feels comfortable coming out and telling the truth," said Felix. "It was definitely a wake up call for a lot of other people."
Her post-pregnancy life also led to a new chapter in her collaboration with longtime coach Bob Kersee, who coached many of the world's elite athletes, including Ms. Jackie Joyner-Kersee.
"He brought athletes back after they had children and he did it for him. It's completely new to me," said Felix. "I think the relationship has definitely changed. Communication, how I feel, how my body feels. "
Felix plans to compete in the 200 and 400 meters this year, with the US Olympic tests scheduled for June.
"Every race is a stepping stone," said Felix. "I'm just trying to turn my legs and get back into competitive situations.
"It's just part of the puzzle, so to speak."
Reporting by Amy Tennery; Edited by Christian Radnedge