You would be forgiven if you didn’t realize that the World Athletics Championship (the global track and field competition) happened in Doha at the end of September. While many armchair fans only tune in to pay attention to track and field every four years, these elite athletes certainly don’t stop working their hardest between Olympic games. And now, two of these athletes and moms are making headlines for their remarkable achievements in the championship.
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Our journey to motherhood and back is bigger than us and bigger than sport. I believe it’s about overcoming and that is something we all have to do. • I have seen the power of the collective. The need to speak your truth. It’s a pivotal time for women in sport. We can create change. • Women, let’s support each other. Uplift and encourage. Open doors for one another. Celebrate and elevate each other. We can all win. This is sisterhood. • Zyon & Camryn’s Mom #embracethejourney #momstrong #WorldAthleticsChampionships
Allyson Felix, an American track and field sprinter and Olympian, first made history on Sunday when she became the runner with the most gold medals in the championship’s history. She was formerly tied for the most gold medals with Usain Bolt, who had won 11 prior to his retirement. Felix clenched her 12th gold in a mixed-gender 4×400 meter relay. An awesome achievement for anyone, for sure — but Felix’s victory is made even more remarkable by the fact that she won it only 10 months after giving birth to her daughter, Camryn, via C-section.
Felix also made headlines for being a mother and an athlete back in May when she wrote in The New York Times about Nike slashing her sponsorship money by 70% following her pregnancy. In July, Felix announced a new partnership with Athleta, where her role as a mother is front and center. “I’m excited also to start thinking about my legacy and what I want to leave behind,” she told SheKnows at the time. “I hope I can be an example to women — especially to women in sports — that they can do things differently than they’ve been done in the past.”
Soon after Felix’s gold medal-winning race, another mom made track-and-field history. Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, a sprinter and Olympian from Jamaica, became the oldest woman and first mom to win a world title in the 100-meter sprint. The 100-meter sprint is the shortest distance race, making it the race in which athletes run the fastest. Winning the 100-meter sprint, therefore, has made Fraser-Pryce the fastest woman alive.
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There are so many things I would love to say but simply put no one, absolutely no one gets to write your story but you! It’s done over time, at your own pace and sometimes with disappointments but it’s the ending that matters. We are all created equals but we are unique, with our own talents and abilities and we are meant to shine differently but we are the same. We are as people special women and men who are built to overcome and built for greatness, if we persevere. Two years ago giving birth to Zyon changed me. Two years ago I lost a loved one and two years ago I was broken. But yet I RISE… I am so grateful for the outpouring of love from my friends, family, fellow athletes, supporters and sponsors over the years. Your belief and encouragement gave me strength. But I am even more grateful for those girls who will come after me or the women who are still holding their own and working on their greatness in their own way and never trying to be anyone but themselves! I am humbled to be filling my shoes with my potential, fill yours and never stop for anyone and do it with all your heart and all your courage, and do it well🙏. The story continues… – #MommyRocket #BeandBecomeExtraOrdinary #BeYou #OutDoYou #iaafdoha2019 @gracefoods @digiceljamaica @nikewomen 🚀🚀🚀🚀 📸: @michael.steele_
Shortly after winning the sprint, she was joined on the track by her two-year-old son, Zyon. As CNN reports, the only other runner who came close to challenging Fraser-Pryce was 23-year-old Dina Asher-Smith, from Great Britain. (To give you a sense of how fast they were running, second place was fast enough for Asher-Smith to break the current British record — but not enough to beat Fraser-Pryce.)
Fraser-Pryce is also thinking about what her legacy can mean for future generations of athletes. “I am even more grateful for those girls who will come after me or the women who are still holding their own and working on their greatness in their own way and never trying to be anyone but themselves,” she wrote on Instagram.
In addition to being role models for future athletes and moms, the two women are there for each other. Felix told NBC Sports that she has spoken a lot with Fraser-Pryce and is in awe of her. “I mean, she’s better than ever… She’s leading the way,” she said, before adding that Fraser-Pryce has also been encouraging her as she got back to running as well. Given the reception these women are getting after their historic wins, their cheering sections just got a whole lot bigger.