You may know Allyson Felix as one of the most decorated track and field athletes there is. She’s won six Olympic gold medals and 11 world championships. But being fast on the track is only one part of Allyson’s story.
Earlier this year, Allyson spoke out in a New York Times op-ed about sponsors’ refusal to support pregnant athletes while recovering from childbirth. She’d experienced severe preeclampsia while pregnant with her daughter and had an emergency C-section to deliver the baby in November 2018. After the birth, her sponsor at the time, Nike, wanted to pay her 70 percent less than before. She and two other Olympian runners, Alysia Montaño and Kara Goucher, took big risks in sharing their stories in hopes that it would change things in the future for female athletes.
That was not the end of the line for Allyson. In fact, Allyson recently signed a partnership with Athleta, in which she — among other things — is playing a key role in the brand’s 2020 Power of She campaign, which focuses on uniting and empowering women.
Now, when you go to Allyson’s website, you’re immediately greeted with an image that says in large letters: Athlete. Mother. Activist. Her brand-new partnership celebrates all those roles equally.
Allyson recently sat down with us to share the details on the partnership, as well as what’s she’s planning on dazzling us with next.
SheKnows: Congrats on your partnership with Athleta! Why was this the right fit for you?
Allyson Felix: Athleta’s mission aligns with passions of mine, and our values are extremely similar — empowering woman and girls is something that is extremely close to my heart, and I think that we’ll be able to have significant change and impact together. Those principles are right in line with my own feelings.
I’m really excited to be in the campaign for 2020. We hope to have a lot other initiatives together as well, that all go back to empowering women and girls and really making a difference in that area.
SK: Why do you think it’s so important to empower girls and women to play sports?
SK: Now that you’re a mother, has your perspective on empowering women and girls changed?
SK: What qualities are important to you in athletic wear?
SK: What is your favorite piece in the SuperSonic collection?
SK: You’ve accomplished so much as an Olympian, as an athlete, as a mother. Are there things that you haven’t crossed off your list that you hope to accomplish?
SK: There’s a lot of focus on getting girls to play sports, but what about women? Many of us have stopped playing sports over the years. How could getting back in the game benefit us?
This interview has been edited for clarity and length.
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