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American track and field sprinter Allyson Felix has launched her shoe brand, Saysh.
The idea to create her shoe brand came after the athlete had no one to sponsor her with racing spikes for this year’s Olympics.
Taking to Instagram, she shared how her employer didn’t support her during pregnancy, and that’s one of the things that motivated her to create the sneakers label.
She said: “During my pregnancy, I faced a gender injustice that I couldn’t run away from.
“My employer did not support my maternity and my colleague’s maternity in a way that I could be proud of. I was told to know my place.
“That runners should just run, that it’s just business.
“Instead, I spoke up. I used my voice to fight for maternal protection for female athletes.
“No woman should have to choose between being a professional and being a mother.
“Now, because of that fight, sponsorship contracts look different for a lot of athletes.
“During my pregnancy, I had complications. And I realised I needed to use my voice to bring awareness to another injustice – a racial injustice in our health-care system.
“I spoke to the US Congress about my experience – and I continue to use my voice for change.”
She said that her brand was designed by women, for women.
“When it came to the Olympics this year, I didn't have a sponsor for my racing spikes. I was tired of asking for change.
“I knew I needed to create it. So we started our brand. It’s called Saysh.
“We design and develop products for and by women. We started with my racing spikes.
“We’re bringing lifestyle sneakers next and creating all of this on the foundation of the community,” said Felix.
She said that next time she’s on the field running, it won’t be for medals but change.
“I’m running for greater equity for each of us. I’m running for women. More than anything,
“I’m running toward a future where no woman or girl is ever told to know her place,” she said.
Felix lost her sponsorship with Nike in 2019 after being with the brand since 2000.