Allyson Felix's Daughter Gave Her 'Courage' to Keep Racing Despite Critics Saying Motherhood Would Stop Her

Speaking to reporters after winning her historic 11th Olympic medal, Allyson Felix addressed those who said she wouldn't be able to compete on an elite level after giving birth to her daughter in 2018

Allyson Felix just proved the naysayers wrong, again.

On Saturday night, Felix competed in what she has said was the final race of her Olympic career, the 4x400m women's relay. She and teammates Sydney McLaughlin, Dalilah Muhammad and Athing Mu won gold — Felix's 11th Olympic medal, further solidifying her as the most decorated female in U.S. track and field history one day after securing her 10th medal, the initial history-making accomplishment.

Felix, 35, has said it was a battle returning to the Olympic stage and that she had critics who said she'd never be able to perform at an elite level again after welcoming daughter Camryn, now 2, in 2018.

Allyson Felix
Allyson Felix. AP Photo/Martin Meissner

"I had to go through challenges in the fight," she told reporters on Saturday after the race at the Tokyo Olympic Stadium. "I'm absolutely where I'm supposed to be. You know, sometimes I think you just have to fight through and I think it's unfortunate. It's not just me. And I think that that's the biggest thing."

American women's 4x400m relay
The American women's 4x400m relay. AP Photo/Charlie Riedel

She continued: "There have been so many women before me who had to stay silent about their fight. And so for me to be able to step out and I think my daughter gave me the courage to do that. But I think that was really the thing, that this has been going on for far too long. And I hope that we're really changing things."

In 2019, Felix publicly split from her sponsor Nike after giving birth and having to undergo an emergency cesarean section at 32 weeks because of severe preeclampsia that put her and Camryn's life in jeopardy. Felix claimed that Nike had been pressuring her to return to training as quickly as possible after her pregnancy and offered her a salary that was 70 percent less than her previous compensation.

After Felix's revelation, Nike changed their maternity policy for athletes.

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Felix has since launched her own footwear company, Saysh, and she raced in the Tokyo Games in her own cleats.

She is now the oldest American female gold medalist in track and field as well as the oldest American gold medalist, male or female, in a track event. In addition, she has become the second-oldest female gold medalist in a track event regardless of nation.

She said Saturday that it was a "great feeling" to pass the baton for presumably the final time during the relay. "Running with these women, I think my role ... has just changed so much. And tonight ... it was just about doing my job and, you know, passing that baton and getting around safely and it was just a really cool moment."

To learn more about Team USA, visit Watch the Tokyo Olympics now on NBC

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