The role model we need, the recognition she deserves

In the world of sports, Usain Bolt’s name is synonymous with the astonishing speed capabilities of the human body. Widely considered the greatest sprinter of all time, the Jamaican sprinter holds eight Olympic gold medals and is the only sprinter to win the Olympic 100 meter and 200 meter titles at three consecutive Olympics. To add to his impressive Olympic record, he also holds the world record for the fastest 100 meter sprint at 9.58 seconds and has won 11 world championships, earning him the nickname “Lighting Bolt” as a testament to his superhuman speed. However, despite his impressive achievements, he no longer holds the record for winning the most world championships.

With her 12th world championship, USA Olympic sprinter, Allyson Felix, stole the title, but nevertheless failed to steal the attention of the world. A simple survey on the street could expose the lack of knowledge about Felix’ achievements. Regardless of Bolt having held the record for so long, or there being less attention given to female athletes, her efforts should be more recognized and appreciated.

Much like Bolt, Felix has had an impressive Olympic career. With a combined nine Olympic medals, six of which are gold, she is one of the most decorated Olympic sprinters. According to Fox, last Sunday, after winning her 12th gold medal at the World Championships on the mixed-gender 4x400m relay team, she now holds the world record for the most gold medals at the Track and Field World Championships. As if her accomplishments alone didn’t speak for themselves, the fact that she competed in the World Championship only 10 months after having an emergency C-section makes her story even more noteworthy. Her victory earlier this month came just 10 short months after she faced a battle with preeclampsia in November 2018, a potentially dangerous pregnancy complication characterized by high blood pressure. She underwent an emergency C-section at 32 weeks to deliver her daughter, yet didn’t let it stop her from continuing to pursue her athletic ambitions.

As a role model for young and aspiring athletes, and women athletes specifically, Felix has pushed for reform within the world of sports. She has highlighted the gender inequalities present in sports, especially in regards to the policies concerning maternity leave, and has spoken against Nike’s long standing maternity policy that has had negative financial impacts on female athletes while pregnant.  As a mother, athlete and woman, she has continued to inspire others and incite change.

Photo: A. Augusts

Leave a Reply