Allyson Felix Gets the Last Laugh After Nike Split by Breaking Usain Bolt’s Gold Medal Record

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U.S. track star Allyson Felix just beat a record set by Usain Bolt after competing in the mixed-gender 4×400 meters relay at the World Athletics Championships Sunday.

The former Nike-sponsored sprinter earned her 12th gold medal in the race, beating the record of 11 that retired Jamaican sprinter Bolt held since 2013, Business Insider reported.

allyson felix
Allyson Felix of the United States reacts after setting a new world record in the 4×400 Mixed Relay during day three of 17th IAAF World Athletics Championships Doha 2019 at Khalifa International Stadium on Sept. 29, 2019, in Doha, Qatar. (Photo: Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

The 33-year-old was one of four sprinters on the U.S. sprinting team at the first mixed-gender 4x400m relay at the championships this weekend. The team set the world record at 3:09.34 to win gold while Felix split 50.4 seconds, NBC Sports reported.

The new win adds to Felix’s already impressive record-making statistic of having the most world championships medals. She just added No. 17 to her collection. But now she has the additional title of beating out Bolt, who is arguably the fastest man in the world.

Yet when asked about Bolt, Felix told reporters, “This is a different event, so I don’t really look at it in that way.”

Also notable is that it was the first race Felix won since welcoming her daughter, Camryn, who was born prematurely in November 2018.

“So special, to have my daughter here watching means the world to me,” Felix told reporters Sept. 29. “It’s been a crazy year for me.”

Part of that crazy year involves welcoming her nearly 1-year-old daughter eight weeks early last year after preeclampsia resulted in Felix undergoing an emergency C-section.

“This was my entire world. staying in the NICU all day & night watching my baby girl fight,” read an Instagram post that Felix made in July as she reflected on how far she and her baby had come. “I can still hear the beeping and alarms of the machines. the uncertainty. The fear. There were a lot of days i wasn’t sure this was going to be possible. I worked harder than i even knew i could. there were tears, frustration and doubt. At times it felt like everything was against me. so today i’m far from my best, but i’m grateful for this opportunity and to experience the joy of competing again.”

But as the new mom spent her days and nights next to her baby in the NICU, she was also battling with her sponsor, Nike, which she accused of being unsupportive of mothers. Felix detailed her split with the footwear manufacturer in a May 2019 op-ed for The New York Times. In it, she alleged the brand asked her to take a 70 percent pay cut on a new contract after she got pregnant. She also wrote that Nike refused to sign a contract mandating that she wouldn’t be punished if her performances slid because of her pregnancy.

A year and a half after Felix and Nike failed to come to terms on a new contract following the expiration of her previous one in December 2017, however, Felix landed a new sponsor. She became Athleta’s first sponsored athelete in history when they struck a deal this past July, Quartz reported. Nike has since changed its policy for expectant mom atheletes, which Felix celebrated on Instagram.

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