Pro-sprinters and ‘super mommies’, Allyson Felix and Quanera Hayes, punch their ticket in for the 2020 Summer Olympic Games on June 20th at Hayward Field in Oregon! Read about the hidden struggles both overcame to get to this point.
Founded by Emmy winning journalist Maria Menounos and Producer Keven Undergaro, AfterBuzz TV is the artist-friendly entertainment news platform that celebrates, discusses, interviews, promotes and reports on the widest range of stars, creators and content through video, audio and article publications.
“This is how history is made, not with words but with heart” – Allyson Felix
The COVID-19 pandemic has had such a detrimental impact on our world that it has forced countless events to be postponed and lives to be changed. One of the events being, the 2020 Olympic summer games. This one was supposed to be held in Tokyo, Japan but due to the outbreak, it was suspended another year. With a growing number of vaccines being distributed and a declining number of hospitalizations, the Tokyo Olympics is now on and will take place starting July 21, 2021.
After an extra year of waiting, this event is well anticipated for both fans and athletes. For many, the pandemic has sent us into shock, with health difficulties, economic hardship, and racial injustice. For the athletes, they are expected to perform their best after this whole year of challenges and uncertainty. One athlete in particular, Allyson Felix, has faced this and an addition of a life threatening event for both her and her fetus. Luckily, both her and her daughter survived and she was able to begin training after her leave of absence in 2018. Felix is a 9-time olympic medalist and was going for her fifth time qualifying, at the age of 35. Besides being a successful sprinter, she has made a name for herself with her altercation with Nike surrounding their lack of maternity support. This altercation, the hardships during 2020, and her, almost fatal, childbirth were all pushing factors for her to advance to her fifth Olympics.
For 4 months, Allison hid her pregnancy while still competing. While still being sponsored by Nike, Felix had asked for financial leniency if she was not performing her best before her maternity leave and childbirth. To this, Nike replied that she would be paid 70% less than what she previously had made. This started controversy, leading to both Felix and supporters storming Nike’s media with complaints for the dearth of representation for pregnant women. Fortunately, this push created change and resorted to Nike forming a maternity policy. This policy promises pay for sponsored athletes for 18 months around their pregnancy. However, she still felt as if they needed to own up more to their reaction and how they dealt with the issue. She then decided to switch to a sponsorship with GAP’s Athleta. During her pregnancy, it was discovered at a regular checkup that Felix had high blood pressure and her daughter’s fetal heart rate was dangerously slow. At 32 weeks, she was diagnosed with a severe case of Preeclampsia and was rushed in for an emergency C-section. Despite an extended time in the NICU, Allyson and Camryn Grace, her newborn, were able to make a recovery and Allyson went back to training.
Now, Allyson Felix held both the pressure of wanting to qualify for a fifth time and the first time doing it as a mother. The first race she was planning to run was the 400 meter dash, a full lap around the track. Starting in the 8th lane, she was leading for the first 100-200 meters but fell shortly behind afterwards. In the last 100 meters, she successfully moved from 6th to 2nd place, securing a place in the Olympics. In front of Allyson was Quanera Hayes, a 29-year old mom who was also pregnant in 2018 and faced challenges reclaiming her speed after childbirth. Both women admit that the road from labor to this race was everything but easy. As a runner, every second matters and after coming back from an injury or in this case, pregnancy, that pressure is heightened.
This picture shows Allyson, the moment she found out she had qualified for her fifth Olympic Games.
This ad embodies female empowerment and her ability to rise above the obstacles she faced in the past 2 years. A legal altercation concerning maternity rights with Nike, a nearly fatal childbirth, struggles to get back to prior fitness, a pandemic, and a fight for racial justice, were all battles that had to be fought by both or one of these women in the past 2 years. However, none of these slighted the fact that Quanera and Allyson both came in at 1st and 2nd and will be traveling to Tokyo to represent the US at the 2021 summer Olympics. Both athletes are phenomenal role models for both their children and show the world that it is never too late to continue your dreams, no matter the circumstances.
Molly Perrine attends Skidmore College with a major in Business and a minor in Italian and International Affairs. She hopes to go into the field of international marketing and is currently an intern for AfterBuzz TV and Better Together with Maria Menounos.
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