Athleta, the activewear brand for women and girls owned by Gap Inc., had never sponsored an athlete when it approached the six-time Olympic champion sprinter Allyson Felix in 2019, shortly after she took Nike to task for its pay practices for pregnant runners.
The smaller company was interested in supporting Ms. Felix’s career, and said it would not penalize her for losing races or choosing to have more children. (Nike changed its policy for pregnant athletes after the criticism by Ms. Felix, whose contract with the company ended in 2017.) She said that she liked that Athleta was led by women and that it appreciated that she was a mother
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