Nike is changing contracts so that female athletes cannot be penalised for having a child, six-time Olympic gold winner Allyson Felix has said.
Sprinter Felix posted on Instagram a Nike email confirming the policy change.
Felix is one of the world’s most successful athletes and has herself just made a return to racing last month after having a baby.
i has contacted Nike for comment.
On Instagram, Felix posted a picture of the letter sent by John Slusher, Nike’s executive vice president of global sports marketing.
Nike maternity protections
She wrote: “Our voices have power.
“Nike has joined in officially and contractually providing maternal protection to the female athletes they sponsor. This means that female athletes will no longer be financially penalised for having a child.”
She added: “I’m grateful to John Slusher and Mark Parker for their leadership and their desire to guide NIKE as a company who believes that we are all more than athletes. And THANK YOU to the brands who have already made this commitment. Who is next?”
In May, Felix had said Nike wanted to pay her 70 per cent less after she became a mother. Her daughter Camryn was born prematurely in November.
‘No female athlete is adversely impacted’
Felix at the 2017 world championships (Photo: Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Writing in the New York Times at the time, she said: “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.”
She returned to the track in July for a US championship meet. After that, she dropped Nike for Athleta.
Nike, quoted in Sports Illustrated, said: “Female athletes and their representatives will begin receiving written confirmation reaffirming Nike’s official pregnancy policy for elite athletes.
“In addition to our 2018 policy standardising our approach across all sports to ensure no female athlete is adversely impacted financially for pregnancy, the policy has now been expanded to cover 18 months.”