Allyson Felix becomes Athleta's first sponsored athlete.
Six-time Olympic gold medalist Allyson Felix has signed a multi-year apparel sponsorship contract with Athleta just two months after speaking out against Nike's treatment of female athletes who took breaks in their career to have children.
The financial details regarding the deal were not disclosed. Felix's contract does not cover footwear, which tends to be among the most common sponsorship deals with professional track and field athletes. Felix was a Nike athlete since 2010 after she won gold in the 200 meters at the 2007 and 2009 IAAF World Championships. Felix's Nike contract expired in December 2017. She had been sponsored by Adidas for the first seven years of her professional career.
The new contract by Athleta includes "full protection during maternity."
"I'm just really thrilled about it," Felix told People. "The way that they are doing sponsorship to me is incredible. It is focused on me as a whole—as an athlete, as a mom, and as an activist and just to be supported in that way is amazing."
In May, Felix published an op-ed in the New York Times where she revealed that Nike wanted to pay her 70% less after giving birth to her first daughter, Camryn, through emergency C-section at 32 weeks in November 2018. Felix came forward 10 days after Olympians Alysia Montano and Kara Goucher spoke out on the maternity policy issues in athlete sponsorship contracts.
Nike agreed to change its future contracts with female athletes following the backlash.
Last weekend, Felix competed for the first time since giving birth and finished sixth in the women's 400-meter final at the U.S. Outdoor Track and Field Championships in Des Moines, Iowa. With her finish, she qualified for the 4x400-meter relay pool at the upcoming IAAF World Championships in Doha, Qatar. If she competes in Doha, it will mark her ninth consecutive appearance at the outdoor world championships.
Felix wore Athleta clothing during her races at the U.S. Championships along with Nike spikes.
Felix, 33, intends to compete next year to try to make her fifth Summer Games with the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. At the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, she won gold medals in the 4x100-meter relay, 4x400-meter relay and took silver in the women's 400.