Allyson Felix Ran Her Last Race. But She’ll Never Stop Chasing Victory.

clothes of our lives

ELLE’s series Clothes of Our Lives decodes the sartorial choices made by powerful women, exploring how fashion can be used as a tool for communication. For this installment, we sat down with newly retired track superstar Allyson Felix, the most decorated U.S. Olympic track athlete of all time and a fierce advocate for maternal health, to talk about the sentimental bodysuit she chose for her last career race—and what comes next in her fight to support mom athletes.

I want to be remembered as a fierce competitor. But what I’m most proud of when I look back at my career is helping secure maternal protections for female athletes who decide to start families during their careers.

Legacy has been on my mind ever since I crossed the finish line of my last ever 100-meter dash in Los Angeles a couple weeks ago. It felt full-circle, because I grew up in L.A., and it’s where I competed in my first track meet. Being back in my hometown to run my last race gave me closure, in a way. I’d really been looking forward to that moment, because I am so ready to transition into the next chapter of my life.

For the race I wore the “Legend Bodysuit” from my collaboration with Athleta. It’s a purplish gray onesie, with a cutout in the back. I feel so confident and strong in it. It’s one of my favorite pieces, because it’s like an extension of who I have grown to become as a person. I paired the bodysuit with spikes from my own shoe company, Saysh, and an Olympic rings necklace that my husband gifted me. I never race without it.

allyson felix smiles after her race at the allyson felix race for change on sunday, august 7, 2022 in los angeles lauren justiceap images for athleta

Allyson Felix after finishing the last race of her career.

Lauren Justice

The whole season leading up to the final race was really emotional. When I first came into the sport, I was so passionate about winning. The performance of it all motivated me. But as I got older, my priorities shifted. I started to realize the power of my platform. While that happened, my relationship to running also changed. My career became more about what I could do off the track.

For me, that meant securing maternal protections in sports. When I helped athletes continue to get compensated during their pregnancies, that was huge. The win created momentum to make more change, and now we’re heading in the right direction. But there’s still so much more to do. Now I’m focusing on improving childcare, which I believe should be offered at all sporting events. Being able to breastfeed in stadiums and having a location to do so should be a given.

My passion and desire started with running, but it grew into something more than I could have ever imagined. I want to channel that drive, give back to the running community, and—in a greater sense—help other women who aspire to do great things.

allyson felix posing with her daughter

Felix with her daughter, Camryn.

Brandon Flint

For so long, I had so much fear about speaking out and standing up for what I believe in. It took not feeling supported by the sports community when I was pregnant with my daughter to realize that if I don’t do something, it will be her generation that has to take it on. That gave me courage, and now I stand on the other side of my fear. Here, I have found freedom and an understanding that things can actually can get done. It’s a beautiful place to be.

Now that I’ve run my last race, I can’t help but think about my future relationship to the sport. Training to perform and training to be healthy are two very different things. It’s going to take some time to let that sink in, because my life was about winning for so long. Right now, I’m looking forward to doing pilates and yoga and other exercises I haven’t had time for. I obviously love to run, and I hope it continues to be a part of my daily routine. But for now, I’m going to take a nice long break.

This interview has been lightly edited and condensed for clarity.


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