TOKYO, Japan — Allyson Felix, a track and field icon, won her 11th Olympic medal in Tokyo on Saturday morning all while wearing her own shoes.
Felix is now the most decorated athlete in track and field history. She broke the medal record wearing her own brand of kicks when she, and the rest of the U.S. 4x400-meter relay team, took the gold home on Saturday.
The 32-year-old launched 'Saysh,' after a high-profile spilt with Nike. The corporation wrote in pay reductions to women's contracts if they became pregnant.
Felix spoke candidly about her difficulties with pregnancy in 2018, expressing her struggles with preeclampsia – a potentially life-threatening complication.
"What I did not prepare for is a scenario where everything goes south," Felix said in an interview with the Center for Disease Control.
The sprinter, who trained throughout her pregnancy, accused Nike of being unsupportive during that time, telling TIME magazine in July that the athletics company was also "beyond disrespectful and tone-deaf" when they asked her to participate in a woman-empowerment advertisement campaign while negotiating maternity protections.
After having an emergency C-section delivery for her baby girl, Cammy, and severing ties with Nike, Felix went back to racing and her company 'Saysh' took the reigns.
“If I come back and I’m just not the same, if I can’t make a fifth Olympic team, I’m gonna know that I fought, that I was determined, and that I gave it my absolute all,” she said in a statement on the Olympics website. “And if it doesn’t end up the way I imagined in my head, it’ll be OK. I just have to go for it, because that’s just simply who we are now.”
Now she's back to her champion ways, helping to bring the U.S. team gold in the 4x400-meter sprint and breaking an Olympic medal record for athletes in her sport.
Although she sported Nike gear, since that is the company sponsoring Team USA, the American athlete raced Friday wearing a shoe she designed for the company she created.
"Our brand is a stage for female creativity and athleticism to undermine inequality," the Saysh website states.
In response to Felix's pushback, Nike expanded and updated its maternity policy, which states the company may not apply any performance-related reductions for a consecutive period of 18 months, beginning eight months prior to athlete's due date. The company also states they may not terminate an athlete as a result of them not competing due to pregnancy.