Allyson Felix details ‘powerful experience’ participating in Black Lives Matter protest

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Allyson Felix said it was “a powerful experience” recently participating in a Black Lives Matter protest, speaking in an interview with TODAY on Thursday.

“I just felt compelled to be out there,” Felix said. “When I heard the cries of George Floyd and calling for his mother, it completely broke my heart. And so, it’s just so important for me to use my voice. And I am hopeful. It’s such a diverse crowd. I feel like there’s a lot of allies. It’s a feeling that I haven’t felt before, so I’m hoping that hope definitely moves to action.”

Felix, a 34-year-old mom to 1-year-old Camryn, wore a black T-shirt with the words “Phenomenally Black” sitting below an Olympic rings necklace in an image shared on Instagram from a protest.

“I hope that, as [Camryn] grows up, things change, but I’ll have to give her the tools to be able to navigate through what is reality right now,” Felix said. “It’s a really sobering reality to have those talks and those conversations, but as soon as I became a mother, I knew that was going to happen, and even long before.”

Since recovering from life-threatening childbirth, Felix fought for maternity protection in athlete contracts. She also testified at the House of Representatives Ways & Means Committee hearing on overcoming racial disparities and social determinants in the maternal mortality crisis.

“I hope that my daughter sees that, through adversity, we have to keep pushing,” she said. “We have to use our voice for the voiceless, and it’s not just about ourselves. I am really fighting for these things for the next generation, for her generation. I want to be able to let her know she was on this journey with me, and hopefully the world looks a lot different and she won’t have to face some of these things that I did.”

Felix, after training on streets and a baseball field near her home, is scheduled to race on July 9 at the Inspiration Games. The meet will include at least 30 athletes spread across three continents.

The exhibition team event will feature Felix racing against Olympic 400m champion Shaunae Miller-Uibo of the Bahamas and world 200m bronze medalist Mujinga Kambundi of Switzerland in a 150m. Felix will cover the distance from California, Miller-Uibo in Florida and Kambundi in Switzerland.

Felix is bidding for her fifth Olympics and to add to her collection of nine medals, tied for the most among female track and field athletes. In her first meet as a mom, Felix made her ninth world championships (strictly in relays) and then broke her tie with Usain Bolt for the most world titles (Felix now has 13).

Felix yearns to compete in Tokyo in an individual event, which will be difficult. Last year, she placed sixth in the 400m at nationals in her first meet as a mom. The top three at trials qualify individually.

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World Alpine Skiing Championships on for 2021 after request to delay rejected

Alpine Skiing World Championships
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GENEVA (AP) — A request by the organizers of next year’s skiing world championships in Italy to postpone the event by one year was rejected Thursday by the International Ski Federation.

FIS ruled that the event will go ahead from Feb. 9-21, 2021, in Cortina d’Ampezzo — the highlight of an Alpine season that faces challenges to find safe protocols for international travel and attending races in Europe, North America and China.

The Veneto region of northern Italy was hit hard by the coronavirus and the season-ending World Cup races in Cortina in mid-March were canceled. That week-long event was to be a test for the 2021 worlds.

“The last month of efforts to come to this solution demonstrates the strong collaborative spirit of the ski family and stakeholders.” FIS president Gian-Franco Kasper said.

Organizers in Italy have said they expect losses of about 30 million euros ($34 million) if the worlds are also canceled. They asked for a postponement to March 2022, which would be only weeks after the Beijing Olympics.

“But we will be ready in any case and we will show that these world championships can change the history of a region despite the current difficulties,” Alessandro Benetton, president of the Cortina organizing committee, said in a statement.

Italian racer Sofia Goggia, the 2018 Olympic downhill champion, said she was “happy for Cortina because it will host the first major international event after the coronavirus epidemic.”

Cortina, which hosted the 1956 Olympics, will co-host the 2026 Winter Games with Milan and use the worlds as a showcase for the resort.

The women’s World Cup downhill on the Olympia delle Tofane course each January is one of the most scenic in the sport with a signature jump between tall outcrops of jagged rock.

The Dolomites venue was awarded the 2021 worlds by FIS after missing out as a candidate four straight times from 2013-19.

MORE: Anna Veith retires, leaves Austrian Alpine skiing in unfamiliar territory

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Russia track and field athlete clearance frozen due to unpaid fine

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MONACO (AP) — The program allowing Russian track athletes to compete internationally will be frozen because the country’s federation failed to pay a fine on time, World Athletics said Thursday.

The Russian track federation, known as RusAF, owes a $5 million fine and another $1.31 million in costs for various doping-related work and legal wrangles. World Athletics said RusAF missed Wednesday’s deadline to pay.

World Athletics said it would freeze the work of the Doping Review Board, which vets Russian athletes who want the “authorized neutral athlete” status that allows them to compete internationally, and its taskforce monitoring RusAF’s anti-doping reforms.

World Athletics said both bodies will be “put on hold” until its council meets to discuss the situation at the end of July.

“RusAF is letting its athletes down badly,” World Athletics president Sebastian Coe said in a statement. “We have done as much as we can to expedite our ANA process and support RusAF with its reinstatement plan, but seemingly to no avail.”

RusAF president Yevgeny Yurchenko earlier told the Tass state news agency that his federation’s finances were damaged by the coronavirus pandemic and that it had asked for more time to pay.

World Athletics’ statement didn’t directly address that issue, but said Russia hadn’t indicated when it would pay.

Russia was fined $10 million by World Athletics in March, with $5 million suspended for two years, after the federation admitted to breaking anti-doping rules and obstructing an investigation.

The Athletics Integrity Unit said fake documents were used under the previous management to give an athlete an alibi for missing a doping test.

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