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Allyson Felix: ‘I want my legacy to be one of someone who fought for women,’ says six-time Olympic champion

With 4 Games underneath her belt — and having simply certified for her fifth Olympics on the US trials on June 20 — Felix is an Olympic veteran used to pristine coaching circumstances. The final yr has been very completely different; she’s been coaching on empty soccer fields and seashores.

“It has been fairly the expertise, loads of issues I may by no means have predicted, loads of challenges in the way in which,” six-time Olympic champion Felix tells CNN Sport’s Coy Wire.

“Really simply having a stable place to prepare in, that is been the most important problem,” she says. “I by no means would have imagined that that might be the case main in the direction of Tokyo.”

There has been one upside to Felix’s new coaching amenities. For a seasoned sprinter used to coaching in a bunch, the sound of cheering onlookers watching her run by the streets of Los Angeles was a welcome antidote to pandemic-induced isolation.

“It was very nice as a result of I believe it has been a bit lonely through the pandemic,” she says. “My neighbors undoubtedly have a greater understanding of what I do now.”

A staff effort

Felix’s two-year-old daughter Camryn has additionally made a couple of appearances on the observe because the Olympian has juggled motherhood and coaching. “Having a younger daughter at house, that is a complete new world,” she says. “It’s given me a distinct motivation.”

Her journey to motherhood has not been easy. In November 2018 she struggled with preeclampsia and had an emergency C-section at 32 weeks to ship her daughter. Despite the preliminary trials she says, “It’s my favourite title. I believe it is one of the best factor that I’ve ever accomplished.”
Felix says her proudest achievement was the birth of her two-year-old daughter Camryn, in November 2018.

Relying on the help of her household has been key to each Olympic journey, however particularly this one.

Her husband, Kenneth Ferguson, took go away from his job at Chrysler and the household moved to Los Angeles from Michigan so Felix may prepare together with her coach, Bob Kersee, forward of Tokyo 2020.

“It’s actually been a staff effort, we have been centered on the Olympics as a household objective, and so he is [Ferguson] been unbelievable.”

Juggling newfound parenthood with an unpredictable schedule can be taxing.

Felix says by beginning the day writing in her gratitude journal — the place she displays on folks, moments and experiences that she’s grateful for — has helped her keep centered, centered and hopeful.

“None of these things occurs alone. There are so many individuals who pour into my life to be in a position to assist me to have this chance.”

The track and field star says she wouldn't have been able to achieve her Olympic dreams without her family. From left: Paul Felix, Marlean Felix, Allyson Felix, Camryn Felix and Kenneth Ferguson.
She’s additionally half of a global roster of athlete ambassadors supported by Olympic and Paralympic Tokyo 2020 Games companions Bridgestone Corporation.
She says their help helped her take a much-needed trip to Arizona in April, the place she had the chance to think about her coaching and spend time together with her household. “It’s simply been actually cool to see everybody actually step up and to present that help.”

Building her legacy

Becoming a dad or mum has additionally helped Felix find her voice when it comes to talking out in opposition to social injustice.

Thinking in regards to the sort of world she needs to elevate her daughter in has opened her eyes. “I’ve at all times had the need to win […] now it is actually about the way in which that I want to present her how to overcome adversity.”

The four-time Olympian hopes her legacy will be as an athlete "who fought for women."

She shared the significance of defining her legacy forward of Tokyo 2020. “I believe should you had requested me that query years in the past, it might have been information on the observe or how briskly I ran,” she tells CNN Sport. “But now I believe it is actually about having some affect on my sport.

“I actually want my legacy to be one of someone who fought for girls.”

Whether it be collaborating in Black Lives Matter protests, battling accidents or standing up for maternal protections in contracts, she’s proven that change would not occur in isolation.

“I hope to simply proceed to converse my fact and to get up for my neighborhood and get up for others who do not have a voice as loud.”

This summer time Felix could have to discover various pathways to channel her activism, because the ban stopping athletes from protesting or demonstrating at Tokyo 2020 has been upheld by the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

“It would have been superb to be in a position to shine a light-weight on some of these actually, actually essential points. It was a bit disappointing,” she says of the IOC’s resolution.

Felix hopes to use her platform to continue speaking out against social injustice.

She cites Sydney McLaughlin, Simone Biles and Sha’Carri Richardson as fellow Black girls athletes whose social presence she admires.

“Simone is someone who I believe is so unbelievable, and he or she’s actually come into her personal. She has such a robust voice as effectively.

“My voice and athletes’ voices on the whole are so essential and so highly effective, and I believe we’re seeing that.”

An alternative to unify

Felix’s legacy is not the one one hooked up to her profession, she additionally stands within the shadow of some of the best athletes in Team USA’s historical past together with Carl Lewis, Jackie Joyner-Kersee, Florence Griffith Joyner and Jesse Owens.

She is the one feminine observe and discipline athlete ever to win six Olympic gold medals and the one USA observe and discipline athlete, male or feminine, to win 13 gold medals on the world championships.

By competing in her fifth Olympics this yr and including one extra medal to her set of 9, she may tie Lewis’ file — or add two extra to break it.

“Being anyplace within the sentence with Carl Lewis, that is one thing I by no means would have even imagined,” she says. “To me, it is all about simply making an attempt to make this fifth Olympic staff, with the way in which that the yr has been […] that might be such a victory.”

Another medal in Tokyo would move Felix's level with Carl Lewis's record as the most decorated US Olympic track and field athlete ever, man or woman -- two more medals would break it.
The absence of worldwide spectators at Tokyo 2020 means Felix is unlikely to have her household within the stands. With scaled down stadium capacities and the removing of staff welcome ceremonies on the Olympic Village, the Games will really feel completely different this yr.

“Obviously as a competitor, we might love to compete in entrance of followers. But on the similar time, we perceive the state of affairs […] we’re prepared to adapt and pivot,” she provides. “In all of this we have seen folks expertise such loss and it actually makes me grateful for all that I’ve.

“I believe it hopefully will be a time of therapeutic and a time the place we actually unify.”

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