Allyson Felix hopes Tori Bowie’s death at 32 will be a ‘wake-up call’

Allyson Felix wants to ensure that her former relay teammate, Tori Bowie, did not die in vain.

In a first-person essay published by TIME on Thursday, Felix shined a spotlight on what she dubbed “a Black Maternal Health crisis” in the United States, urging both awareness and concrete action in the wake of Bowie’s death due to pregnancy-related complications last month. Felix noted that three of the four women on Team USA’s gold-medal-winning 4×100 relay team at the 2016 Olympics − herself, Bowie and Tianna Madison − went on to have pregnancy-related complications.

“I would love to have another child. That’s something that I know for sure. But will I be here to raise that child? That’s a very real concern,” Felix, who is the most decorated track athlete in U.S. history, told TIME. “And that’s a terrifying thing. This is America, in 2023, and Black women are dying while giving birth. It’s absurd.”

Tori Bowie, Tianna Bartoletta, Allyson Felix and English Gardner (USA) celebrate after winning the women's 4x100m relay final in the Rio 2016 Summer Olympic Games.

Bowie’s autopsy report, which was released Monday, stated that the three-time Olympic medalist was eight months pregnant and undergoing labor when she died at her Florida home last month. She was 32. The autopsy report listed eclampsia − which causes seizures following a spike in blood pressure during pregnancy − as a possible complication that contributed to her death.

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