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(EUGENE, Ore.) — 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, the nonprofit organization she co-founded with her Team USA teammate Alysia Montaño.
“My final season is not about winning medals but giving back to the sport and future mom-athletes and leaving it better for the next generation of women raising children,” Felix said in a statement. “Athleta and I set out to prove the power in supporting women holistically.”
She continued, “As I reflect on the barriers that I faced when competing at the highest level alongside being a mother, I feel more committed than ever to leaving behind this legacy to ensure more women can both raise children and excel in their athletic careers.”
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.
In her announcement, Felix — who won her 11th Olympic medal at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, her fifth Olympics and her first as a mom — said she would be running this season “for women” and “for a better future for my daughter.”
Felix gave birth to her daughter 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.
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.
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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