LOS ANGELES - Olympic track and field star Allyson Felix joined a chorus of recent criticism against Nike on Wednesday (May 22), accusing the US sporting goods giant of penalising female athletes who took time off to have a child.
Felix, the only female track and field athlete to win six Olympic gold medals, wrote in the New York Times that she had been offered a vastly reduced contract by Nike since taking time off in 2018 during her pregnancy.
The 33-year-old former 200m Olympic champion spoke out after US teammates Alysia Montano and Kara Goucher levelled similar allegations against Nike as part of an investigation by the Times last week.
"They told stories we athletes know are true, but have been too scared to tell publicly: If we have children, we risk pay cuts from our sponsors during pregnancy and afterwards," Felix wrote in the publication.
"It's one example of a sports industry where the rules are still mostly made for and by men."
Felix, who gave birth to a baby girl in December, said she had decided to start a family last year despite anxiety over negotiations concerning the renewal of her Nike sponsorship deal which had expired at the end of 2017.