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Allyson Felix opens up on premature birth of her daughter after secretly competing while pregnant

The most decorated American woman in track and field history with six Olympic gold medals gave birth to daughter Camryn at 32 weeks in November but kept the news private until this week

Rory Carroll
Friday 21 December 2018 09:24
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Allyson Felix gave birth to her daughter Camryn on 28 November at 32 weeks
Allyson Felix gave birth to her daughter Camryn on 28 November at 32 weeks

Six-time Olympic gold medallist Allyson Felix gave birth to her daughter Camryn via emergency C-section last month and despite the premature birth, both mother and child were "doing fine," US Track and Field said on Thursday.

Medical complications required the baby to be born at 32 weeks and she will need additional time in the neonatal intensive care unit before she can come home.

"I'm trying to be open to what God has in store for me and my family," Felix wrote in a message posted to the team's website.

"I still feel nervous and vulnerable. But I also feel brave and excited. Every day I sit with my daughter in the NICU and watch her fight. Every day she gets stronger and more beautiful."

News of the birth came as a surprise to her fans since the Los Angeles native had not previously said she was pregnant.

The 33-year-old sprinter, the most decorated American woman in track and field history with six Olympic gold medals across Beijing 2008, London 2012 and Rio 2016, was set to announce her pregnancy before the emergency C-section on 28 November derailed those plans.

Felix said she planned to compete at the Tokyo Olympics in 2020 and would run with a new sense of purpose.

Felix competed last season while pregnant with her daughter Camryn

"I'm not just running to win the most medals anymore," she said in a first-person article published by ESPN on Thursday.

"If I come back and I'm just not the same, if I can't make a fifth Olympic team, I'm gonna know that I fought, that I was determined, and that I gave it my absolute all.

"And if it doesn't end up the way I imagined in my head, it'll be OK. I just have to go for it, because that's just simply who we are now."

The 2012 200m Olympic champion competed last season while unknowingly pregnant, and once she learned of her pregnancy she decided to keep the news under wraps after being inspired by 23-time tennis Grand Slam champion Serena Williams, who won the 2017 Australian Open in the early stages of her pregnancy.

However, she also revealed her struggles to “live up to my pristine nice girl image”.

"Having a child felt like I'd be risking my career and disappointing everyone who expected me to always put running first," she said.

Reuters

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