Allyson Felix speaks out on why she's providing free child care for mom-athletes

The 11-time Olympic medalist is the mom of a 3-year-old daughter.

June 23, 2022, 4:04 AM

Athletes competing at the 2022 USA Track and Field Outdoor Championships in Eugene, Oregon, will not have to worry about child care, thanks to fellow competitor Allyson Felix.

Felix, an 11-time Olympic medalist and mom to 3-year-old daughter Camryn, is providing free child care for athletes, coaches and staff for select track and field events this year, starting with the championships in Eugene, which kick off Thursday.

Felix, 36, is offering the child care in partnership with her sponsor, Athleta, and &Mother, a nonprofit organization for which she serves on the board of directors.

Felix described the cost of child care as "one of the main obstacles" faced by athletes who are also moms.

"Sports and athletics ultimately act as a microcosm for motherhood and careers within our larger society, as women are too often told they cannot be fierce competitors in their careers while still being a caregiver to their children," Felix told "Good Morning America." "No woman should ever have to choose between her career and her family, and our goal is to make accessible child care a standard provision for working moms."

She continued, "My hope is that this free and accessible child care service in partnership with Athleta and &Mother will help raise awareness around the need for a better child care system -- both in sports and beyond."

Felix announced in April that this track season will be her last, making this week's competition in Eugene her final USA outdoor national championships.

Felix -- who won her 11th Olympic medal at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, her fifth Olympics and her first as a mom -- told "GMA" she is running her final races with even more purpose.

"I’m racing this season for a better future for women and girls, and the legacy we are building around supporting women on and off the track," she said. "When I think about the world that Cammy will grow up in, I don’t want her -- or any other woman or girl -- to have to fight the battles that I fought."

Felix gave birth to her daughter Camryn in November 2018 and has spoken publicly about the life-threatening complications she faced during pregnancy.

Then one year after giving birth, in 2019 Felix left her former sponsor Nike after speaking out alleging that female track stars were penalized contractually by the brand for being pregnant.

PHOTO: Allyson Felix reacts after placing 7th of the Women's 200m event, June 9, 2022, during the Wanda Diamond League athletics meeting at the Olympic Stadium in Rome.
Allyson Felix reacts after placing 7th of the Women's 200m event, June 9, 2022, during the Wanda Diamond League athletics meeting at the Olympic Stadium in Rome.
Alberto Pizzoli/AFP via Getty Images

In May 2019, Nike said it would change its pregnancy policy and do more to protect female athletes' pay during and after pregnancy.

Felix went on to launch her own shoe and lifestyle brand, Saysh, which she has made mother-friendly.

Earlier this year, the company announced a unique return policy that allows pregnant customers to receive a new pair of shoes if they experience pregnancy-related changes to their shoe size.

Felix has also partnered with Athleta in the past specifically on the issue of child care. Last year, she and the women-focused apparel company announced a $200,000 grant program to cover child care costs for professional mom-athletes traveling to competitions.

"The Child Care Grants from Athleta and Women’s Sports Foundation (WSF) grants are a game changer for these women," said Felix. "Not all professional athletes are fortunate to have a sponsor or any financial support, so the grants have allowed them to train and travel with less stress or barriers."

She continued, "We've supported 23 athletes so far, and I look forward to seeing how many more we can help with this year’s grant cycle. "

Kyle Andrew, Athleta’s chief brand officer, said the company is partnering again with Felix on the new track and field child care initiative to continue Felix's mission to "bring meaningful change for women and girls.”

“Athleta’s purpose is to break down barriers to help women take care of themselves and each other," Andrew said in a statement. "Our latest effort to support mom athletes with child care allows them to flourish in their professional careers while prioritizing their wellbeing and removing a barrier so prevalent in sports. No woman should have to choose between her career and her family."

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