Allyson Felix Talks Maternity Leave And Challenges Of Female Athletes | TODAY


ALLYSON FELIX HAS WON, GET A ALLYSON FELIX HAS WON, GET A LOAD OF THIS, NINE OLYMPIC LOAD OF THIS, NINE OLYMPIC MEDALS, MAKING HER THE MOST MEDALS, MAKING HER THE MOST DECORATED FEMALE TRACK AND FIELD DECORATED FEMALE TRACK AND FIELD STAR IN U.S. OLYMPIC HISTORY. STAR IN U.S. OLYMPIC HISTORY.>>RECENTLY, SHE’S GONE THROUGH>>RECENTLY, SHE’S GONE THROUGH A PRIVATE STRUGGLE AND OPENED UP A PRIVATE STRUGGLE AND OPENED UP IN THE “NEW YORK TIMES” ABOUT IN THE “NEW YORK TIMES” ABOUT THE DIFFICULTY FEMALE ATHLETES THE DIFFICULTY FEMALE ATHLETES FACE WHEN IT COMES TO MATERNITY FACE WHEN IT COMES TO MATERNITY LEAVE AND THEIR CORPORATE LEAVE AND THEIR CORPORATE SPONSORS. SPONSORS. ALLYSON IS HERE TO DISCUSS THIS ALLYSON IS HERE TO DISCUSS THIS AND HAS A BIG ANNOUNCEMENT. AND HAS A BIG ANNOUNCEMENT.>>SO NICE TO SEE YOU GUYS.>>SO NICE TO SEE YOU GUYS.>>SO YOU WRITE THIS OP-ED IN>>SO YOU WRITE THIS OP-ED IN THE “NEW YORK TIMES,” AND YOU THE “NEW YORK TIMES,” AND YOU SAY YOURSELF, YOU’RE NOT USUALLY SAY YOURSELF, YOU’RE NOT USUALLY ONE TO RUFFLE FEATHERS. ONE TO RUFFLE FEATHERS. TELL US ABOUT THE OP-ED AND WHY TELL US ABOUT THE OP-ED AND WHY YOU DECIDED TO DO IT NOW. YOU DECIDED TO DO IT NOW.>>EXACTLY.>>EXACTLY. IT WAS REALLY ABOUT JUST IT WAS REALLY ABOUT JUST BRINGING AWARENESS TO SOMETHING BRINGING AWARENESS TO SOMETHING THAT WAS HAPPENING IN OUR THAT WAS HAPPENING IN OUR INDUSTRY. INDUSTRY. THERE WAS SO MUCH SILENCE THERE WAS SO MUCH SILENCE SURROUNDING WOMEN BECOMING SURROUNDING WOMEN BECOMING PREGNANT, STARTING FAMILIES, AND PREGNANT, STARTING FAMILIES, AND HOW SPONSORSHIP WAS REFLECTED BY HOW SPONSORSHIP WAS REFLECTED BY THAT. THAT. OTHER WOMEN HAVE SPOKE OUT, AND OTHER WOMEN HAVE SPOKE OUT, AND THEY REALLY UNSPIREINSPIRED ME T THEY REALLY UNSPIREINSPIRED ME T THE CONVERSATION. THE CONVERSATION.>>YOU WERE IN THE MIDST OF>>YOU WERE IN THE MIDST OF CONTRACT NEGOTIATIONS WHEN THIS CONTRACT NEGOTIATIONS WHEN THIS CAME OUT. CAME OUT. WHAT WAS THE IMPACT OF IT? WHAT WAS THE IMPACT OF IT?>>CHANGE HAPPENED.>>CHANGE HAPPENED. SO THE INCREDIBLE THING IS, WE SO THE INCREDIBLE THING IS, WE BROUGHT AWARENESS. BROUGHT AWARENESS. THERE WASN’T PROTECTION THERE WASN’T PROTECTION SURROUNDING MATERNITY. SURROUNDING MATERNITY. BECAUSE WE SPOKE OUT, YOU KNOW, BECAUSE WE SPOKE OUT, YOU KNOW, THINGS STARTED TO CHANGE. THINGS STARTED TO CHANGE. I HOPE THAT IT IS JUST A I HOPE THAT IT IS JUST A STARTING POINT. STARTING POINT.>>NOW, OKAY, YOU WERE STILL IN>>NOW, OKAY, YOU WERE STILL IN THE NEGOTIATIONS WITH NIKE. THE NEGOTIATIONS WITH NIKE. OBVIOUSLY, THINGS FELL APART. OBVIOUSLY, THINGS FELL APART. NIKE, WE REACHED OUT, AND THEY NIKE, WE REACHED OUT, AND THEY RESPONDED WITH A STATEMENT, RESPONDED WITH A STATEMENT, SAYING BACK IN MAY, IN 2018, WE SAYING BACK IN MAY, IN 2018, WE CREATED AN OFFICIAL POLICY CREATED AN OFFICIAL POLICY STANDARDIZING OUR APPROACH STANDARDIZING OUR APPROACH ACROSS ALL SPORTS. ACROSS ALL SPORTS. NO FEMALE ATHLETE IS PENALIZED NO FEMALE ATHLETE IS PENALIZED FOR PREGNANCY. FOR PREGNANCY. WHILE THE SPECIFICS OF EACH WHILE THE SPECIFICS OF EACH ATHLETE AND SPORT IS UNIQUE, ATHLETE AND SPORT IS UNIQUE, WE’RE WAIVING REDUCTIONS FOR 12 WE’RE WAIVING REDUCTIONS FOR 12 MONTHS FOR THE ATHLETES WHO MONTHS FOR THE ATHLETES WHO DECIDE TO HAVE A BABY. DECIDE TO HAVE A BABY. WHAT IS YOUR REACTION TO THAT? WHAT IS YOUR REACTION TO THAT?>>I WAS REALLY HAPPY THAT NIKE>>I WAS REALLY HAPPY THAT NIKE STEPPED UP AND CHANGED THEIR STEPPED UP AND CHANGED THEIR POLICY. POLICY. THAT’S WHAT THIS WAS ABOUT. THAT’S WHAT THIS WAS ABOUT. I THINK THAT’S AMAZING ABOUT I THINK THAT’S AMAZING ABOUT USING YOUR VOICE. USING YOUR VOICE. IT CAN BE SCARY, ARE IS I CANRIS IT CAN BE SCARY, ARE IS I CANRIS NOT SURE OF CONSEQUENCES, BUT NOT SURE OF CONSEQUENCES, BUT WHEN YOU SEE ACTION HAPPEN, WHEN YOU SEE ACTION HAPPEN, WOMEN SPEAKING THEIR TRUTH, IT WOMEN SPEAKING THEIR TRUTH, IT IS AMAZING WHEN THINGS ACTUALLY IS AMAZING WHEN THINGS ACTUALLY CHANGE. CHANGE.>>WE SEEM SOB IN AEEM TO BE IN>>WE SEEM SOB IN AEEM TO BE IN WHERE FEMALE ATHLETES ARE WHERE FEMALE ATHLETES ARE STEPPING INTO IN ARENA IN A NEW STEPPING INTO IN ARENA IN A NEW WAY. WAY. WHAT IS THE REASON FOR THAT? WHAT IS THE REASON FOR THAT?>>WE FEEL THE SUPPORT.>>WE FEEL THE SUPPORT. WE KNOW WE’RE NOT ALONE. WE KNOW WE’RE NOT ALONE. IT IS A PIVOTAL TIME IN WOMEN’S IT IS A PIVOTAL TIME IN WOMEN’S SPORTS, SO I JUST FEEL SO PROUD SPORTS, SO I JUST FEEL SO PROUD TO JOIN IN THAT. TO JOIN IN THAT.>>AS WE LOOK AT A PICTURE OF>>AS WE LOOK AT A PICTURE OF YOUR BEAUTIFUL LITTLE GIRL, YOUR BEAUTIFUL LITTLE GIRL, 8-MONTH-OLD CAMERON, YOU HAVE A 8-MONTH-OLD CAMERON, YOU HAVE A BIG ANNOUNCEMENT. BIG ANNOUNCEMENT.>>YES.>>YES. I AM SO EXCITED BECAUSE I AM I AM SO EXCITED BECAUSE I AM PARTNERING WITH ATHLETA. PARTNERING WITH ATHLETA. I AM THRILLED BECAUSE I FEEL I AM THRILLED BECAUSE I FEEL THEY ARE REDEFINING WHAT THEY ARE REDEFINING WHAT PARTNERSHIP LOOKS LIKE. PARTNERSHIP LOOKS LIKE. SUPPORTING AN ATHLETE SUPPORTING AN ATHLETE HOLISTICALLY. HOLISTICALLY. THAT’S ME AS AN ATHLETE BUT ALSO THAT’S ME AS AN ATHLETE BUT ALSO AS A MOTHER AND JOINING AS AN AS A MOTHER AND JOINING AS AN ACTIVIST. ACTIVIST. I FEEL AMAZING ABOUT THAT. I FEEL AMAZING ABOUT THAT.>>WHAT DOES THAT MEAN, THE ROLE>>WHAT DOES THAT MEAN, THE ROLE OF SPONSORSHIP AND SUPPORTING OF SPONSORSHIP AND SUPPORTING SOMEONE HOLISTICALLY? SOMEONE HOLISTICALLY?>>IT IS DIFFERENT.>>IT IS DIFFERENT. AS AN ATHLETE, YOU ARE FOCUSED AS AN ATHLETE, YOU ARE FOCUSED ON PERFORMANCE. ON PERFORMANCE. I FEEL LIKE I AM MORE THAN AN I FEEL LIKE I AM MORE THAN AN ATHLETE. ATHLETE. I HAVE MORE TO OFFER THAN THAT. I HAVE MORE TO OFFER THAN THAT. TO BE SUPPORTED ALSO IN THESE TO BE SUPPORTED ALSO IN THESE OTHER ASPECTS OF MY LIFE, TO BE OTHER ASPECTS OF MY LIFE, TO BE ABLE TO START INITIATIVES THAT ABLE TO START INITIATIVES THAT ARE GOING TO EMPOWER WOMEN AND ARE GOING TO EMPOWER WOMEN AND GIRLS, THAT’S REALLY WHAT I’M GIRLS, THAT’S REALLY WHAT I’M INTERESTED IN. INTERESTED IN. TO HAVE A COMPANY STAND BEHIND TO HAVE A COMPANY STAND BEHIND THAT, I THINK IT IS REALLY THAT, I THINK IT IS REALLY DIFFERENT. DIFFERENT.>>IN FACT, YOU’RE ON A MAGAZINE>>IN FACT, YOU’RE ON A MAGAZINE COVER RIGHT NOW DIGITALLY, COVER RIGHT NOW DIGITALLY, TALKING ABOUT BLACK MATERNAL TALKING ABOUT BLACK MATERNAL MORTALITY. MORTALITY.>>YES.>>YES. I GOT TO GO BEFORE CONGRESS AND I GOT TO GO BEFORE CONGRESS AND TELL MY STORY OF WHAT HAPPENED TELL MY STORY OF WHAT HAPPENED REGARDING MY BIRTH. REGARDING MY BIRTH. I HAD SEVERE PRECLAMPSIA. I HAD SEVERE PRECLAMPSIA. BLACK WOMEN ARE FOUR TIMES MORE BLACK WOMEN ARE FOUR TIMES MORE LIKELY TO FACE COMPLICATIONS AND LIKELY TO FACE COMPLICATIONS AND DEATH WHEN GIVING BIRTH. DEATH WHEN GIVING BIRTH.>>I THINK PEOPLE WOULD BE>>I THINK PEOPLE WOULD BE SURPRISED BY THE STATISTICS HERE SURPRISED BY THE STATISTICS HERE IN THE UNITED STATES. IN THE UNITED STATES.>>EXACTLY.>>EXACTLY. I WAS. I WAS. I MEAN, YOU KNOW, I DIDN’T — I I MEAN, YOU KNOW, I DIDN’T — I WAS THROWN INTO THE SITUATION, WAS THROWN INTO THE SITUATION, AND I WANT EVERYONE TO BE AWARE. AND I WANT EVERYONE TO BE AWARE.>>I MENTIONED THE OLYMPICS>>I MENTIONED THE OLYMPICS 2004. 2004. WILL WE SEE YOU IN TOKYO? WILL WE SEE YOU IN TOKYO?>>THAT IS THE PLAN.>>THAT IS THE PLAN. I’M WORKING HARD. I’M WORKING HARD.>>LOOK AT THE JEWELRY AROUND>>LOOK AT THE JEWELRY AROUND HER NECK. HER NECK. SHE WORKS OUT THREE HOURS A DAY. SHE WORKS OUT THREE HOURS A DAY. WE HAVE TO GET MOVING. WE HAVE TO GET MOVING.>>WORKING HARD TO BE THERE.>>WORKING HARD TO BE THERE.>>WE LOOK FORWARD TO SEEING YOU

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