Getting pregnant as a track and field athlete is often called the “kiss of death” — a sign your athletic career will soon end. Olympic champion, entrepreneur and proud mother Allyson Felix thinks it shouldn’t be that way. She tells the story of starting a family while fighting to change her former sponsor’s maternity policy — and paving the way for others to get greater protection and more support. Her message is a testament to the power of believing in and advocating for yourself. “You don’t have to be an Olympian to create change for yourself and others,” she says. “Each of us can bet on ourselves.”



彼女は、元スポンサーの出産政策を変えるために闘いながら家族を築き、他の人たちがより強力な保護とより多くの支援を得られるように道を切り開いた物語を語ります。 彼女のメッセージは、自分を信じて主張する力の証です。 「自分自身や他人に変化をもたらすために、オリンピック選手になる必要はありません。私たち一人ひとりが自分自身に賭けることができます。」と彼女は言います。

タイトル An Olympic Champion’s Mindset for Overcoming Fear
スピーカー アリソン・フェリックス
アップロード 2022/04/21

「恐怖を克服するためのオリンピックチャンピオンの心構え(An Olympic Champion’s Mindset for Overcoming Fear)」の文字起こし

Sure, here’s the text with additional line breaks for improved readability and emphasis:

One of the scariest moments of my career started on a dark October morning in 2018. I’m a professional athlete, and my training schedule can be a lot. Six days a week, five hours a day. It’s intense.

Still, I never train that early. But on this day, a special type of fear brought me out at 4am before the sun. A fear that someone might discover a secret I’d been keeping. I was six months pregnant.

I was pregnant, and I was scared enough to train in the dark so that no one would see the life that was growing inside of me. I feared that if a fan or someone posted a photo, that my sponsor would immediately change their mind about wanting to work with me.

I feared that I would be forced to choose between motherhood and being a competitive athlete. I feared that the career I worked so hard to build would disappear just like that.

You think I’m exaggerating, right? How could a six-time Olympic champion, a 16-time world champion, a world record holder, possibly think that her career might be over by doing something as natural as having a baby?

Well, I’m not exaggerating. Getting pregnant in track and field has been called the “kiss of death.” And it comes with a lot of fear, just like for women in many professions.

I have been watching women that I respect and teammates of mine hide pregnancies since I was 19 years old. I’ve seen women have to make gut-wrenching decisions like deciding whether to recover their health or return to the sport.

Deciding whether to stay in the hospital with a sick child or go to a race so that they don’t receive a further pay reduction. I know what some of you might be thinking.

We all choose to get pregnant, right? If a sponsor doesn’t want to pay an athlete who’s not out on the track winning, that’s just part of the deal, right?

Well, I think the deal’s rigged. I think that companies want to have it both ways. And I think it’s time we change.

Sports companies love to tell women that they can have it all. They can do it all, they can be it all. We’ve all seen those inspirational ads.

I remember meeting with Nike leadership in 2010, and they told me about an initiative they sponsored called the Girl Effect. They promoted adolescent girls as the key to improving societies around the globe.

They said they believed in women and girls. And if I joined Nike, I could empower them. And I believed that.

But guess what? Girls come from somewhere. (Laughter) And women having babies during childrearing years is something that should be celebrated, not punished.

It should be a part of a normal, thriving, professional, athletic career. And women in all fields should never feel the need to hide a pregnancy, at 4am, in the dark, so that they won’t be photographed doing that thing that they love.

Thank you.

Remember how scared I told you I was when I was on the track that day? My mind was racing with the consequences of my decision to start a family. I had already been going through a difficult renegotiation period with Nike, and they were already offering me 70 percent less than what I had previously been making. And that was even before they knew about the baby.

Don’t even get me started with the ageism that is embedded in the capitalist dream. So when I told them about my pregnancy, I asked for a clause in the contract that specified they wouldn’t reduce my pay within 12 months of giving birth. They said yes.

But — you knew there was going to be a “but”, right? But it was only a yes for me. They weren’t ready to offer that same protection for all female athletes. They weren’t ready to set the precedent.

A couple of days later, my agent called me. Nike wanted to use me in a commercial for the Women’s World Cup. I couldn’t believe it. Nike wanted to use me to tell women and girls that they could do anything, even though the contract before me said the exact opposite.

I knew what I had to do. I knew I had to leave. I knew I was afraid, but I did it anyways. I wrote an op-ed in “The New York Times” calling out Nike’s maternity policy, and I wasn’t the only one.

My teammates and I, we helped turn the tide. Now, Nike offers eighteen months maternity protection and other sponsors —

And other sponsors like Altra, Nuun, Brooks and Burton, they came forward and they announced their new guarantees for female athletes who start families while being sponsored. Too late for me, but amazing for the women coming up now.

I didn’t resign with Nike, and I’m here to tell the tale. But more than that, I’m here to tell you that you can do it, too. Once you find the courage to believe in yourself, your own worth, your own values, it gets easier. It’s when you take a stand that you start to understand how to overcome that fear and how to make a change for yourself and sometimes for others.

I went on to find a new sponsor in the female-led, female-focused Athleta, and they helped me —

And they helped me challenge the International Olympic Committee’s childcare policy. Together, we raised 200,000 dollars for female athletes to be able to afford childcare when they go to races. Because women have babies, and these children don’t disappear when the races begin.

I made it back to the Olympics two years after giving birth. I won a gold and a bronze.

And I became the most decorated American track and field athlete of all time. All while my daughter was watching. Audience: Aww.

AF: I was running for so much more than for medals or for a time on the track. I was running as a representation for women and for mothers and for anybody who had been told that their story was over.

I remember crossing that line in Tokyo and having such a sense of fulfillment. I looked down at my feet and for the first time in my entire career, I wasn’t wearing Adidas, I wasn’t wearing Nike. I was wearing Saysh, the women’s footwear brand that I founded, designed for and by women, when I was left without a footwear sponsor. Because I was tired of not being valued or able to show up fully as myself.

I learned that my voice has power, and when I bet on myself, change is possible.

During the pandemic, we all saw what happens when that thin line between our professional and personal lives permanently blurs. We have seen women step back, give up, drop out, as having it all became doing it all, and doing it all became impossible.

We have got to stop forcing people to choose between parenting and doing the work that they love. And we’ve got to stop pretending that we’re not making those decisions because the results affect us all. Not just women, but men and our children, too. By creating the environment that we all live, work, love and raise our families in.

Isn’t it past time that we call out the hypocrisy and create a new normal? One with real generosity, humanity and truth at the center, not some misplaced sense of what business is or does.

We should say what we will tolerate. And as we all recover from the pandemic that has flattened us, let’s just not rebuild the same version of the broken system that we had before. But let’s learn and create something new.

Each one of us has a role to play. And you don’t have to be an Olympian to create change for yourself or for others. Everyone in this room can bet on themselves.

It will typically happen in moments of fear when you don’t see the path forward. In my own experience, it was a terrifying decision, but that will be your first clue. That feeling of being terrified is your invitation to create change.

You have to acknowledge those feelings, you have to brave them, and you have to fight to move forward. It won’t be easy. You will be afraid. Your voice will shake. But what I can absolutely promise you is that it will be worth it.

Thank you.

「恐怖を克服するためのオリンピックチャンピオンの心構え(An Olympic Champion’s Mindset for Overcoming Fear)」の和訳