Olympian Allyson Felix is Focusing on Mom Life and Perfecting Her 'Hidden Talent'
By now, we've all reveled in the historic accomplishments of Allyson Felix, who became the most decorated track and field champion of all time. Felix now has 11 Olympic medals (seven Gold, three Silver, 1 Bronze). But when the Tokyo Olympics ended and she was back home in Los Angeles, Felix couldn't wait to be reunited with her most precious award of all—2.5-year-old daughter, Camryn Grace. In a video Felix shared on her Instagram, you can hear little Camryn say, "I love you, I love you," as she gives Felix and husband, sprinter, and hurler Kenneth Ferguson, a hug.
"Being reunited with her was just so incredible, so special," says Felix. How did her little one deal with the distance? "I think she was fine with it," she says. But Mom didn't fare as well. "I think I was the one who was a wreck, trying to figure out, 'How am I going to make it?'" Thank goodness for FaceTime, which Felix says she used, "a million times," but of course that's not the same. "The first week I was at the Olympics, and I was waiting to compete, I struggled. Because of COVID, we had to be isolated so much and so I think that really amplified that I was away from her," says Felix, who graced the cover of Parents magazine's July 2020 issue, which was shot at the beginning of the pandemic in her backyard.
What kept Felix strong during the Olympics was knowing Camryn Grace was well taken care of. "My family uplifted me. Knowing that she was in such great hands and seeing her [virtually was comforting]," says Felix. "My husband sent me a lot of videos of her at the park, and with friends. So, every time I got sad, I would just look at those videos and be like, 'She's okay; she's good. I need to do this. This is going to show her so much.'"
Even though Camryn is just shy of age 3, she has some idea of what her mommy does and why she's gone. Says Felix, "She does know Mommy's at work and Mommy's running. She's into cheering these days, she's really into, 'On your mark, get set, go,' and showing us that she knows what that means. We have a lot of fun with all of that." The toddler also has some understanding of the current pandemic. "The other day she was playing with her dolls, and she gave her doll a COVID test!" says Felix.
Of course, COVID was also on Felix's mind during the competition. The athlete's performance in the Olympics may not have been possible without Becton, Dickinson and Company (BD), a global medical technology company that for more than a century has been committed to improving health outcomes for its patients and customers. Felix is a part of its original content series, BD on Location, which shows the outstanding health protocols the company helped enforce to keep athletes safe. "I felt like BD made me able to just focus on competition," says Felix. "I knew they had their part taken care of and that allowed me to do what I'm best at."
Yet on the track isn't the only place Felix shines. She's an advocate who has spoken to Congress about birth challenges unique to Black women. She's a trailblazer who took on the billion-dollar company Nike when it tried to cut her pay by 70 percent after the birth of her daughter in November 2018, which led her to start her own shoe brand called Saysh. And there's actually something most people don't know about Felix: "I'm a good hula hooper—hidden talent."
So, what's next for Felix? Perhaps grabbing another meal from one of her favorite restaurants, Harold & Belle's in Los Angeles, which she admits was her first indulgence after the games. "I had fried catfish, French fries, red beans, and rice," she shares. And she hasn't ruled out a World Championship next year. In the meantime? "I'll be focusing on Saysh, on being a mom, and being at home."