Runners and 'Supermommies' Allyson Felix and Quanera Hayes Both Qualify for the Tokyo Olympics Two Years After Giving Birth

The women secured the top two spots for the 400m dash, shattering the illusion that once you're a mom, you can no longer make strides as an elite athlete.

Ahead of next month's highly-anticipated Olympics in Tokyo (delayed from 2020 due to the pandemic), all eyes are on the athletes competing in the Olympic trials, a series of tournaments across several sports (including curling, diving, gymnastics, swimming, and track and field) that determine which athletes will go on to represent the U.S. in the Games.

Two powerhouse track and field pros advancing to the Summer Olympics are Quanera Hayes and Allyson Felix, who competed in the 400m dash track and field trial finals on Sunday at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon, coming in first and second place at 49.78 seconds and 50.02 seconds, respectively. The pair is Tokyo-bound alongside third-place contender 23-year-old Wadeline Jonathas.

Runners and 'Supermommies' Allyson Felix and Quanera Hayes Qualify for the Tokyo Olympics Two Years After Giving Birth
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Aside from absolutely slaying it at the trials, Hayes and Felix are both moms to toddlers who met for the first time immediately after their mamas (who gave birth within weeks of each other) found out they were headed to Tokyo. The adorable moment was captured on video, with Hayes' two-year-old son, Demetrius, and Felix's two-year-old daughter, Camryn, embracing in a hug as their moms did the same. Hayes herself put it best, declaring them both to be "super-mommies" during the sweet meeting. (

The triumph is especially poignant for both women (and all women out there juggling work and parenthood - an Olympic sport in and of itself), who have been open about their experiences training for one of the toughest and most important moments of their athletic careers as new moms.

Immediately after securing her spot - marking the first time she's qualified for the Olympics - Hayes told the Register-Guard what it meant for her to celebrate in the stands with Felix, a five-time Olympian, nine-time Olympic medalist, and six-time gold medalist. "I just told her that I was grateful for all she's done for mothers. How she fought for us and paved the way for me as an athlete. I just thanked her for being her and never giving up and was paying homage to her. I've looked up to Allyson for a long time, and to be there and go through this with her as a mom was special." (

Runners and 'Supermommies' Allyson Felix and Quanera Hayes Qualify for the Tokyo Olympics Two Years After Giving Birth
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Their successes have been hard-won, though. Felix has been transparent about the challenges she faced during pregnancy and delivery, and how the COVID-19 pandemic forced her to shift her priorities. During her pregnancy in 2018, she was diagnosed with severe pre-eclampsia and had to undergo an emergency C-section at just 32 weeks pregnant. These unexpected health worries she and her baby faced retooled her perspective - and that was even before the pandemic hit.

"I remember those days and nights being in the NICU and, at that time, obviously competing was the furthest thing from my mind - it was all just about feeling grateful to be alive and grateful that my daughter was here," the 35-year-old recently told Shape. "So in the midst of the disappointment of the Games being postponed and things not looking the way I'd imagined, at the end of the day, we were healthy. There's so much gratitude in those basic things that it really put everything into perspective." (Read more: Olympian Allyson Felix On How Motherhood and the Pandemic Changed Her Outlook On Life)

After welcoming baby Camryn, Felix knew she had to fight for herself, for Camryn's future, and for the future of Black mothers everywhere by using her platform to "shine a light on causes like the maternal mortality crisis facing Black women and [advocate for women and trying to move toward more equality" along with getting back out there on the track - something that resonates with her fellow athletes. As fourth place contender Kendall Ellis told the Register-Guard, "Every time I see Allyson run, it reminds me that you don't have to stop running at a certain age. You can have a life and still compete. You can have a family and still run, so I'm excited to continue to run with her."

No doubt, all the intense training paid off, and the duo is living proof that becoming a parent doesn't need to spell the end of an Olympic career - in Hayes' case, it's merely the beginning.

As Felix said to press after the trials, "Society tells us a lot of times that you have a child and your best moments are behind you, but that's absolutely not the case. I am representation of that. Quanera is." These two supermommies are poised to take Tokyo by storm next month, and their little ones are among the millions who can't wait to see them slay.

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