Competing in the Olympic Games is nothing new for Allyson Felix, the most decorated female track and field athlete of all time. However, when she gets into the starting blocks at the U.S. Olympic Trials, beginning Friday, she will be running with a new motivation: her 2-year-old daughter, Camryn. Felix delivered Camryn at 32 weeks after an emergency C-section due to severe pre-eclampsia in November 2018. The procedure was life-threatening for both mother and daughter, but overcoming such serious challenges on her path to motherhood made Felix even more determined to make a comeback for the Tokyo Games. “My daughter has totally been that driving force,” Felix told USA TODAY Sports. “I’ve always been this competitive person. I’ve always had a drive and a desire to win, but I think now, being a mom, it’s really about teaching her how to overcome adversity and showing her what hard work looks like.”
On top of makeshift facilities, Felix was trying to train while keeping her family protected from COVID-19. She partnered with the BD Veritor™ Plus System, a rapid antigen test for COVID-19, to maintain safety standards, and she is also featured in a documentary series titled BD on Location, which showcases the way that athletes and organizations are navigating the return to competition.
“Thankfully, things now are good and we’re back on track, but it got interesting for a while,” Felix said. “I think [the documentary] is shedding light on some of those challenges that we have faced during the pandemic and some of this training that’s really not traditional.”
Felix will compete in both the 400 and 200 meters at the U.S. Trials, and although she is a gold medalist in the 200, her best chance to make the American team will be in the 400.
She competes in the qualifying round of the 400 Friday at 7:30 p.m. ET and in the semifinals Saturday at 10:20 p.m. ET. If she qualifies, the final round will go off at 10:06 p.m. ET on Sunday. The preliminary rounds of the 200 will be held June 24 at 9:31 p.m. ET and June 25 at 7.25 p.m. ET. The final will be run June 26 at 10:24 p.m. ET.
No matter the outcome of her races, Felix said she hopes her daughter will take away important life lessons from watching her mother compete.
“Whether she chooses to grow up and be an athlete or be in a completely different industry, we all have those challenges, and we all have things that we have to overcome,” she said. “This year has been such a lesson into what really matters. I feel very grateful and blessed that I get to do what I absolutely love on a daily basis, but at the end of the day, my family is truly what matters to me.”
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