Track and field star Allyson Felix not only competed at the U.S. Championships this weekend, she also helped out fellow athletes in a big way – by providing them with free childcare.
Felix, who has 11 Olympic medals and is thein Olympic history, is working with sportswear brand Athleta and nonprofit &Mother to provide free, accessible childcare for athletes and coaches at select track and field events this year. Felix has become an advocate for mothers since getting pregnant with her daughter, Camryn, now 3.
Felix ran Sunday in what she said would be her last time at the USA Track & Field Outdoor Championship. "When I first raced here I thought I was racing for medals. I chased those medals for acceptance, validation and purpose. Along the way I've learned why I really run and it's for a better future for women and girls. A better future for Camryn," she wrote on Instagram.
Felix said she came back this season so she "could provide childcare at these championships" and "to remind women that they don't have to walk in anyone else's footsteps that they can do it in their own shoes."
With the new free childcare initiative, Felix and Athleta said they "aim to improve wellbeing and remove barriers for mom athletes who oftentimes must choose between their career and their families, empowering them to reach their limitless potential both on and off the track." CBS News has reached out to Athleta for more information and is awaiting response.
&Mother, which is dedicated to helping women pursue and thrive in both career and motherhood, said the pilot program at track and field events "is the first step on the road to standardizing supportive services for parents participating in career-defining athletic events."
While this initiative is just one step in improving childcare for working parents, "sports is a microcosm" for what other mothers experience in other industries.
"Through this lens, we have an opportunity to examine child care solutions for a 'non-traditional' workplace," the organization said. "Athletes and coaches can't 'work from home,' competition and travel schedules do not align with most child care options, but we CAN solve for these challenges."
&Mother was co-founded by track and field star Alysia Montaño. The six-time USA Outdoor Track champion and mother of three was one of the first athletes to allege Nike wanted to pause her contract and stop paying her when she was pregnant. Other athletes, including Felix, made similar allegations against the sponsor.
Nike soon updated its athlete contracts to protect female athletes' pay during pregnancy. Nike said it updated its policy the previous year, but itsthe company to reduce pay if athletes fell short of performance goals, including during pregnancy or childbirth. The company said that changed.
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