Usain Bolt has given up on his dream of becoming a professional footballer, saying “the sports life is over” for him.
The eight-time Olympic gold medallist was unable to agree a contract with Australian side Central Coast Mariners late last year after a trial.
He made his debut for the Mariners in September and scored twice in his second trial match. Despite the goals – one well-taken, one a tap into an empty net – and a clear improvement in his level of football fitness between those two games, serious questions remained over his general play and ability to turn into an elite athlete in a second sport.
The 32-year-old turned down an offer from Maltese club Valletta, reportedly because the club could not afford his wage demands, and also spent time training with Norwegian team Stromsgodset and German Bundesliga side Borussia Dortmund.
Bolt, who retired from athletics in 2017 and still holds the 100m and 200m world records, said he does not regret trying to become a professional footballer.
“It was fun while it lasted,” he said. “I don’t want to say it wasn’t dealt with properly, but I think we went about it not the way we should …
“You live and you learn. It was a good experience, I really enjoyed just being in a team.”
Bolt, who won Olympic sprint gold medals in Beijing, London and Rio, said he would now focus on his business ventures.
“I’m just doing many different things … the sports life is over, so I’m now moving into different businesses.
“I have a lot of things in the pipeline, so as I say, I’m just dabbling in everything and trying to be a business man now.”
Reuters contributed to this report
- Olympic Runner Allyson Felix Broke a Record Held By Usain Bolt
- Allyson Felix eclipses Usain Bolt’s record for most gold medals at worlds — her first as a mother
- Sprinter Allyson Felix broke Usain Bolt’s gold-medal record 10 months after her C-section, proving kids aren’t the ‘kiss of death’ for athletes
- Felix exposed apparel brands’ punishing practices towards mothers
- Women runners often feel compelled to race while pregnant
- Felix had her first baby via emergency C-section 10 months before beating Bolt’s record.
- She recently denounced Nike’s treatment of its pregnant athletes.
- Felix already has 9 Olympic medals.
- Usain BOLT
Olympic Runner Allyson Felix Broke a Record Held By Usain Bolt
Patrick Smith/Getty Images
Ten months after giving birth via emergency C-section, Allyson Felix has broken a record held by retired sprinter Usain Bolt, aka the fastest man in the world. Felix was on the U.S. Track & Field team that won the mixed-gender 4x400m relay at the track and field World Championships in Qatar. Following her team’s victory, Felix now has the most gold medals in world championships of any track athlete: 12 compared to Bolt’s 11. (Related: Why Record-Breaking Olympic Runner Allyson Felix Is Breaking Her Silence)
As someone who’s spent recent months championing women’s abilities in sports, Felix is pleased with the distinction. Not only does she take pride in the accomplishment itself, but she says it also feels good to know that this record isn’t separated into gender-based categories. “This isn’t a men’s record or a women’s record,” she tells Shape. “It’s just the record. I’m proud of that.”
ICYDK, the runner cemented her status as a legend well before she broke Bolt’s record. She’s currently tied with Merlene Ottey for the female track athlete with the most Olympic medals, though six of Felix’s medals are gold while Ottey has earned silver and bronze medals.
Felix has made a name for herself—and she definitely hasn’t wasted her influence as a track star. She’s recently shed light on the inequalities female athletes often face if they decide to give birth, particularly when it comes to how much they’re paid. Felix herself had a baby girl last year, and she had to undergo an emergency C-section because of preeclampsia, a condition in pregnancy characterized by dangerously high blood pressure. In May, Felix and fellow Olympic runner Alysia Montaño wrote op-eds for the New York Times, sharing their own experiences with these inequalities. In her piece, Felix revealed that when she was negotiating a renewal of her contract with Nike, the company insisted on a 70 percent pay cut. “If that’s what they think I’m worth now , I accept that,” Felix wrote. The athletes fueled a discussion, and ultimately Nike changed its policy to protect female athletes’ pay both during and after pregnancy. (Related: This Tip from Allyson Felix Will Help You Hit Your Long-Term Goals Once and for All)
Felix made a convincing argument about why new moms shouldn’t get penalized in pro sports. But if there were any lingering doubts, her latest record-breaking win certainly helped prove her point that becoming a mom isn’t a “kiss of death” for a pro athlete. The same can be said for Jamaica’s Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, whom Felix shared a moment with after the most recent world championships. Like Felix, Fraser-Pryce has continued to dominate after giving birth to her son Zyon two years ago: She recently became the oldest woman to win a world title in track. “What she’s done is amazing,” Felix told the LA Times. “She’s had a hard road, too. She keeps encouraging me. Her first year wasn’t the best, but her second year, she’s better than ever. Women are amazing and she’s leading the way.”
Felix seems to be generally stoked about women who are making waves in sports. “Right now is a pivotal time,” she recently told us. “We’re hearing a lot of women speak out, like the women’s soccer team, and I feel encouraged and inspired by it. It’s about the power of the collective and empowering women to speak up and speak their truth as they do amazing things in all different fields.” (Related: Why the Controversy Over the U.S. Women’s Soccer Team’s Winning Celebration Is Total BS)
Felix says her latest record-breaking win proves a point she’s been trying to drive home for years. “It helped me to believe my own messaging even more. Women really are so incredible and capable. We can do it all, and I want every woman to know that her dreams are possible and they matter. I wasn’t sure if I was going to make it back on top of the podium to win a medal again, but I set goals and worked toward them every day.”
Over the weekend, Olympic sprinter Allyson Felix won her 12th gold medal at a track-and-field World Championship—breaking a record formerly held by Usain Bolt, the runner often referred to as the world’s fastest man.
Felix, 33, took the world medal-count record from Bolt in Doha after a 4 x 400 mixed-gender relay race victory. She’s competed in four Olympics and won nine medals, six of them gold, but what makes this victory even more important is that it’s Felix’s first since giving birth to her daughter, Camryn, 10 months ago.
The birth wasn’t easy. People reports that the Olympian suffered from severe preeclampsia and gave birth via C-section. “It’s different, definitely challenging. I think for any new mom when she returned to work just, you’re exhausted and you’re balancing your family and what it all looks like,” she told the magazine in July about getting back into her training routine.
After her major accomplishment this weekend, Felix simply tweeted, “Humbled🙏🏾💛.”
Since then, she’s spoken out about what this victory means to her as a mother. “Our journey to motherhood and back is bigger than us and bigger than sport. I believe it’s about overcoming and that is something we all have to do,” she wrote on Instagram yesterday. “I have seen the power of the collective. The need to speak your truth. It’s a pivotal time for women in sport. We can create change. Women, let’s support each other. Uplift and encourage. Open doors for one another. Celebrate and elevate each other. We can all win. This is sisterhood.”
It seems her daughter, as well as other mothers, is her biggest inspiration. “Life looks different. Cammy is 10 months old today. Figuring out this mom life,” she said. “I’ve had to fight a lot this year- for my health, for my daughter, for women & mothers, for what I deserve and for my fitness. I’m really proud to be at my 9th world championships and this one is extra special because my baby girl is in the stadium to watch it all.”
Felix, a new Athleta ambassador, has an impressive record of using her platform to advocate for women—especially mothers—in sports. After Olympian Alysia Montaño called out her former sponsor Nike for not supporting pregnant athletes, Felix also spoke up (as did fellow Olympic runner Kara Goucher). “What I’m not willing to accept is the enduring status quo around maternity. I asked Nike to contractually guarantee that I wouldn’t be punished if I didn’t perform at my best in the months surrounding childbirth,” Felix wrote in a New York Times op-ed in May. “I wanted to set a new standard. If I, one of Nike’s most widely marketed athletes, couldn’t secure these protections, who could?”
It’s safe to say Felix has set a new standard: Women can be mothers and champions.
Allyson Felix eclipses Usain Bolt’s record for most gold medals at worlds — her first as a mother
Sprinter Allyson Felix won her 12th gold medal at the world championships Sunday to surpass Usain Bolt for the most all-time.
It was also her first gold medal as a mother.
Her daughter Camryn was born last November, and Felix’s return to the track after an emergency C-section and preeclampsia made for an emotional journey toward this gold medal.
“So special, to have my daughter here watching means the world to me,” Felix told NBCSN, according to NBC Sports’ Olympic Talk. “It’s been a crazy year for me.”
The 33-year-old was part of the U.S. national team’s quartet on the mixed-gender 4×400-meter relay (an event poised to make its Olympic debut next summer in Tokyo).
American male sprinter Wil London III handed off to Felix, who ran the second leg of the relay in 50.4 before handing off to teammate Courtney Okolo. Michael Cherry anchored the winning leg of the race to give Team USA a world record time of 3:09.34.
Felix already held the record for overall medals — male or female — in world championship competitions; she now has 17 total. She’s expected to compete in her fifth Olympics next summer in Tokyo, which would make her the oldest to ever do so in any gender.
Felix’s daughter, Camryn, spent 29 days in the NICU after she was born at just 3 pounds. “There were a lot of days i wasn’t sure this was going to be possible,” Felix told reporters back in July after she finished sixth in the 400-meter dash at the USATF Outdoor Championships.
Sprinter Allyson Felix broke Usain Bolt’s gold-medal record 10 months after her C-section, proving kids aren’t the ‘kiss of death’ for athletes
- Olympian Allyson Felix won her 12th gold medal at the World Championships on Sunday, breaking Usain Bolt’s record.
- The victory comes just months after Felix spoke out against Nike’s policies towards athletes who have children.
- Nike revised its maternity policies after Felix, and other athletes, exposed the company’s practices.
- Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Following in the footsteps of stars like Serena Williams, Allyson Felix, the most decorated female track athlete in American history, has yet again shown that women can be mothers and world-class athletes.
Felix, who was at the forefront of a movement to pressure sponsors to offer improved maternity benefits to athletes, broke running sensation’s Usain Bolt’s medal record on Sunday when she secured the gold medal in the 4×400-meter relay at the IAAF World Championships in Doha, Qatar.
The mother of one now has 12 World Championship gold medals to her name, a record which Bolt previously held since 2013 with 11 medals.
Shattering Bolt’s record was all the more significant since Felix spoke out against Nike’s punishing policies towards mothers in a searing New York Times op-ed in May. Felix gave birth to her daughter in November at 32 weeks by emergency C-section.
Felix exposed apparel brands’ punishing practices towards mothers
Felix exposed how high-profile apparel brands, will praise women athletes who decide to have children in public. But, behind closed doors and non-disclosure agreements, they’ll deduct pay to new mothers.
“I wanted to be a professional athlete and a mother. In some ways, that dream was crazy,” Felix wrote in her New York Times piece, which specifically called out Nike’s practices. “I decided to start a family in 2018 knowing that pregnancy can be ‘the kiss of death’ in my industry,” Felix added, quoting runner Phoebe Wright, who also criticized Nike for its discriminatory policies towards mothers.
Nike sponsored Felix from 2000 until 2017. When the six-time Olympic gold medalist got pregnant in 2018, she said it was “terrifying” because she was trying to negotiate a renewed contract with the apparel behemoth.
Nike reportedly wanted to pay her 70% less than the company did before. The two eventually parted ways.
In a searing New York Times Op-Ed, Felix revealed that Nike wanted to pay her 70 percent less once she revealed she was pregnant. Lucy Nicholson/Reuters
Unlike athletes who play team sports, runners don’t receive a steady salary. Their income predominantly comes from sponsorship deals and race prizes. Sponsors are known to cut pay if an athlete’s performance declines after pregnancy.
That means there’s even more pressure for runners to delay their maternity leave and to return to competing soon after giving birth.
Alysia Montano famously ran in the 2014 United States Championships while eight months pregnant, earning the title, “the pregnant runner.”
When Montano told Nike she was planning on getting pregnant, the company reportedly said it would put her sponsorship deal on hold and also stop paying her. She then signed with Asics, which said it wouldn’t pay during her postpartum recovery period, Montano told the Times.
Women runners often feel compelled to race while pregnant
Alysia Montano famously raced while she was eight months pregnant in 2014. Andy Lyons/Getty Images
Montano developed diastasis recti, the separation of the abdominal muscles, after giving birth, but felt compelled to return to the field as soon as she physically could. She taped her abs together to help her get through it, she told the Times.
After Felix, Montano, and other female athletes spoke out, Nike, Burton, and other brands said they would take steps to better support their sponsored athletes who have children.
Nike said in a statement in May that it can “go even further” in supporting pregnant athletes. The company announced that it would waive performance-pay reductions for a year for athletes who have children.
In July, Felix signed a multi-year contract with apparel brand Athleta, becoming its first sponsored athlete. She said the deal finally made her feel vindicated.
“Speaking out was so scary; it feels risky,” Felix told Fast Company. “I couldn’t sit by silently on the sidelines. So to be in the place I’m in now, and feeling fully supported, it’s an amazing feeling.”
Serena Williams supported Nike after its maternity pay controversy, saying the company is ‘learning from mistakes and doing better’
Naomi Osaka is already the second-highest paid woman in sport, second only to Serena Williams
Not one woman is listed amongst the world’s 100 highest paid sportspeople
- During the Qatar world track and field championships, Allyson Felix won her 13th gold medal, surpassing Usain Bolt’s record.
- But the four-time Olympian had a touchy road to victory, giving birth to her daughter via emergency C-section just 10 months before.
Allyson Felix. If you keep up-to-date on sports news or have tuned-in to at least one of the past four Olympic Summer games, you’ve definitely heard that name. And if by some off chance you haven’t until recently, the star track and field athlete is most-likely now on your radar because of her new record.
On September 29, Felix earned her 12th gold medal at the track and field world championships in Qatar for the mixed-gender 4x400m relay. This feat officially marked the 33-year-old down in history, as the runner surpassed Usain Bolt (considered the fastest man in history) breaking their 11-medal tie for the most gold ever won at the championships. But that wasn’t all. On October 6, she won her 13th championship medal as apart of the women’s 4x400m relay. Summary? Much like fellow female athlete Simone Biles—who recently surpassed a male gymnast’s record to officially becoming the greatest athlete-ever in her sport—Felix is transforming the world of sports.
“Break Records. Break Stereotypes. Break Barriers. And do it like a girl,” she wrote on Instagram. “It’s never just you. You never achieve goals on your own, it takes support. It takes a team. Tonight, I celebrate this gold medal with my team. With a group of incredibly strong barrier breakers. A group of world changers.”
While we still have months to go until the 2020 Tokyo summer Olympics, it’s safe-to-say that we’ll be keeping up with Felix as she vies for her fifth appearance at the games. Until then, let’s learn a little bit more about the athlete.
Felix had her first baby via emergency C-section 10 months before beating Bolt’s record.
View this post on Instagram
baby girl you light up my world✨
A post shared by Allyson Felix (@af85) on Aug 18, 2019 at 11:08am PDT
On November 28, 2018, Felix welcomed her daughter Camryn with husband Kenneth Ferguson, a fellow track and field athlete himself. And though now the baby girl is perfectly healthy, her birth came with complications.
Due to severe preeclampsia, Felix had to deliver Camryn two months early via emergency C-section. According to CBS News, the baby weighed just 3 lbs. at the time of her birth and had to to stay in the NICU for 29 days.
“It was a really scary situation,” Felix told Gayle on CBS This Morning. “And we really weren’t sure, you know, which way things were going to go.”
The athlete herself had to recover from her operation, and didn’t begin running again until July of this year.
“When you are talking about life-changing situations, I think becoming a mother and having a daughter and understanding what she’ll face in the world, it’s just bigger than myself and any comforts that I’ve experienced,” she told The Washington Post. “I just had never expected to face challenges giving birth. That was the furthest thing from my mind. I can say that I definitely took my health for granted. Being a professional athlete, it’s what I do. That really shook my world.”
She recently denounced Nike’s treatment of its pregnant athletes.
In May 2019, Felix wrote an op-ed for The New York Times in which she revealed that her long-time sponsor, Nike, wanted to pay her 70% less during contract negotiations following her pregnancy. Inspired by her Olympic teammates Alysia Montaño and Kara Goucher, who shared their pregnancy stories for a Times investigation, Felix wrote:
What I’m not willing to accept is the enduring status quo around maternity. I asked Nike to contractually guarantee that I wouldn’t be punished if I didn’t perform at my best in the months surrounding childbirth. I wanted to set a new standard. If I, one of Nike’s most widely marketed athletes, couldn’t secure these protections, who could?
Nike declined. We’ve been at a standstill ever since.
In response, CNN reported the athletic brand amended its policy to ensure that female athletes wouldn’t “adversely impacted financially for pregnancy” for 18 months—which is 6 months more than their original stance.
But Felix has since left Nike and is instead now partnered with Athleta. It’s the company’s first sponsorship of an athlete.
“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,” she told People. “Our values just really align and even other initiatives to work on that are going to support and empower women and girls, are all things that are really close to my heart.”
Felix already has 9 Olympic medals.
View this post on Instagram
happy #olympicday! . i’m forever grateful to the olympic movement for giving me a life i could have never dreamed of . my first olympics as a teenager to going after making a 5th olympic team as a mom. i love this crazy adventure.
A post shared by Allyson Felix (@af85) on Jun 23, 2019 at 10:45am PDT
The track and field star went to her first Olympics in Athens when she was just 18 years old. She’s been to every games since: Beijing, London, and Rio de Janeiro. As a standout in the 200m, 400m, 4x100m relay, and 4x400m relay, Felix has amassed a total of nine olympic medals (six gold) and as we mentioned earlier, 13 world championship medals. This makes her the most-decorated female runner in the United States.
“Overcoming obstacles is tough,” she wrote in an Instagram caption last month. “This year I have been learning the importance of just doing the work. It’s not glamorous, it’s tedious and sometimes frustrating. Slowly but surely, even when it’s hard to see the goal is getting closer. If you are in a similar space right now, keep pushing.”
Okay, so between Felix and the G.O.A.T Simone Biles, we are feeling all types of inspired. Can the Tokyo games come soon enough?
For more ways to live your best life plus all things Oprah, sign up for ournewsletter
DOHA, Qatar (WTSP) — A 33-year-old U.S. sprinter broke a world record for gold medals Sunday, toppling former record-holder Usain Bolt.
Allyson Felix won her 12th gold medal at the World Championships during the mixed-gender 4x400m relay, Business Insider reports. Bolt was the previous World Championships record-holder, since 2013, with a total of 11 gold medals.
It was Felix’s first race since giving birth to her daughter, Camryn, in November 2018.
Advertisement – Story continues below
Felix has made four Olympic appearances. She has a combined nine medals — six of which are gold, CNN reports.
How did she summarize her big record-breaking win?
“Humbled,” she wrote in a tweet.
Not only has she broken records, Felix continues to inspire others. Speaking with ESPN in 2018, she discussed the emotional toll of having her daughter in the NICU as a preemie born at 32 weeks following an emergency C-section.
As Felix gets ready for her fifth Olympics, she also has been vocal against Nike’s long-standing maternity policies for sponsored athletes. She’s pushing so that she and other female athletes won’t be impacted financially for being pregnant.
Between 16 August 2008 and 19 August 2016, Usain Bolt won 20 Olympic and world championship gold medals in the 21 events he entered, a staggering tally that makes him the greatest sprinter of all time. After winning his third consecutive Olympic 100m title in Rio, the Jamaican great was moved to comment: “Somebody said I can become immortal. Two more medals to go and I can sign off. Immortal.”
Then, after completing his “triple-double” with a third straight Olympic 200m triumph, he announced that he wanted to be up there with the very best of them all: “I am trying to be one of the greatest, among Ali and Pele.” And after crossing the line first in the 4x100m final and joining Finland’s Paavo Nurmi and the USA’s Carl Lewis as a nine-time Olympic gold medallist, an elated Bolt commented: “There you go, I’m the greatest. I’m just happy to have done what I came here to do. I’m proud of myself. The pressure is real, but I look at it as an accomplishment.”
Bolt lights up Beijing 2008
A brilliant junior athlete, Bolt made his Olympic debut as a 17-year-old at Athens 2004, where, hampered by a torn hamstring, he went out in the opening round of the 200m. Yet by the time he returned to the Games at Beijing four years later, the tall Jamaican sprinter was a firm favourite to claim an Olympic sprint double, having set a new 100m world record of 9.72 seconds in late May in New York, followed by the fastest 200m of the year, 19.67, a few weeks later in the Greek capital.
Taking to the track at the Bird’s Nest in his distinctive gold spikes, Bolt duly etched his name in track and field history, trimming his world record to 9.69 and winning the 100m at a canter, so much so that he was celebrating victory with arms outstretched 20 metres from the line. Another gold and another world record followed in the 200m, with the Jamaican clocking 19.30 to eclipse Michael Johnson’s time at Atlanta 1996. A third gold and a third world record followed in the 4x100m relay, Bolt running a lightning-fast final bend as he, Nesta Carter, Michael Frater and Asafa Powell clocked 37.10 between them.
“I want to share it with my team,” said Bolt after completing his hat-trick. “It’s down to them that I beat the world record today. When you beat the relay world record, you feel four times happier.” His unprecedented achievement of setting three world records in winning three sprint golds made him the star of Beijing 2008 along with US swimmer Michael Phelps, and earned him an ecstatic reception on his return to Jamaica in early September.
Two unbeaten world records
Bolt consolidated his status as a global superstar at the IAAF World Championships in Berlin the following year, trimming 0.11 seconds off his 100m world record, taking it down to 9.58, and setting a new 200m world record of 19.19. Both times are yet to be beaten.
The only major title that eluded by Bolt after Beijing 2008 was the 100m at the 2011 Worlds in Daegu, where he was disqualified for a false start in the final. Determined to atone for that setback, he arrived at London 2012 with his sights firmly set on more gold. Savouring the atmosphere in the British capital, Bolt said: “What I liked about London was definitely the crowd. For me, it was the energy, and surprisingly the stadium was always full, no matter what time of day. I came out for the heats of the 100m, which was early, and it was ram-packed of people. It was a great reception. It was a wonderful experience.”
Bolt drew on that energy to retain the 100m, 200m and 4x100m titles, the Jamaican star linking up with Frater, Carter and Yohan Blake in the last of those three events to run 36.84, yet another world record. Reflecting on his unprecedented second “triple triple”, he said: “There was a little bit more pressure, but it didn’t bother me as much. But there was a different expectation from me. I went out there just to show the world that I could do it again. That was my focus and I got it done, so it was good. It was a long season but I accomplished what I came to London to do. I’m very proud of myself.”
Yet more triples
Further world championship triples came at Moscow in 2013 and Beijing in 2015, taking his collection of world titles to a staggering 11, more than any other athlete. In collecting his massive array of golds, the Jamaican made his signature “Shh” gesture and “Lightning Bolt” celebration pose a familiar sight at arenas all over the world.
When it came to confirming his supremacy in his three events at Rio 2016, the Jamaican superstar had to dig deeper than ever, coming from behind in the last 50 metres to win the 100m in a time of 9.81, and then grimacing as he crossed the line in the 200m in 19.78, his slowest time in a major championship. “I don’t know about the 200m in the future,” he said afterwards. “Next year at the World Championships it will likely just be the 100m, even though my coach keeps trying to convince me otherwise. But personally for me, I think this is the last time I will run the 200m. I wasn’t happy with the time and my body did not respond down the straight. But I’m getting older, so I am pleased to get the gold medal.”
After winning the 4x100m title in Brazil with Asafa Powell, Nickel Ashmeade and Blake to make it nine Olympic golds out of nine, Bolt confirmed that he had made his last appearance at the Games and that the 2017 World Championships in London would be his swansong as an athlete. Explaining the recipe for his success, he said: “It’s hard work, sweat and sacrifice. I’ve sacrificed so much throughout the season, throughout the years. I’ve been through so much. I knew this moment would come. I’ve got mixed feelings about it. I don’t have the words to describe my three trebles. I’m going to miss this sport and I’m going to miss the Games because it’s the biggest event possible for any athlete. But I’ve proven that I’m the greatest in this sport and, for me, it’s mission accomplished.”