Allyson Felix Making Childcare Free for Athletes at U.S. Track & Field Championships

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Photo:  Sean M. Haffey (Getty Images)
Photo: Sean M. Haffey (Getty Images)

Olympic track athlete Allyson Felix has proven she’s a star on and off the track. The most decorated track and field athlete in Olympic history has put on for the U.S. in a major way against some of the world’s best athletes in her sport. And when she’s not running, Felix has been an outspoken advocate for women. Now, she’s partnering with one of her sponsors—activewear brand Athleta—and nonprofit organization & Mother, to provide a free childcare option for the athletes, coaches and staff at this year’s U.S. Track & Field Championships in Oregon. The groundbreaking initiative will offer care for kids from infancy through school-age through a national provider while their parents compete.

Felix is also working with the Women’s Sports Foundation and Athleta’s Power of She Fund to provide childcare grants to athletes. The two organizations have already provided $200,000 in childcare grants to athletes since last year, including Elana Meyers Taylor, the American bobsledder whose performance at the 2022 Winter games made her the most decorated Black athlete in Winter Olympics history. The grant allowed Meyers Taylor to have childcare for her son, Nico, while she competed.

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Affordable, reliable childcare is often a barrier to many women looking to advance their careers. Women frequently face the choice of spending a large chunk of their income on childcare or removing themselves from the workforce when they run out of options. A 2019 survey, by resource app Winnie and The Mom Project, found that 81 percent of women said childcare made a strong difference in their decision to participate in the workforce.

Allyson Felix has made it her mission to be an outspoken advocate for women. She joined forces with Pampers to work on improving maternal health outcomes for Black mothers, and her lifestyle brand, Saysh, implemented an intentionally sexist policy allowing women to return their Saysh sneakers free of charge if their shoe size changes during their pregnancy.

Felix said she was inspired by tennis legend Billie Jean King to advocate for childcare for parents in her sport and hopes that what she is doing in track and field will become the norm across other sports.