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6-Time Gold Medalist Allyson Felix Helps Create Child-Care Grant For Female Athletes

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

If you think parenting is stressful, imagine parenting while also competing as a Paralympic athlete. Lora Webster, who competes in sitting volleyball as a mother of three, with No. 4 on the way...

LORA WEBSTER: This baby is a surprise, and also the timing of it. I never planned to go into Tokyo pregnant.

A MARTINEZ, HOST:

Like most athletes, she's on her own to pay for child care during the competition. Many female athletes have to choose between parenting and competing, but Webster just received a $10,000 grant, so her mother could take care of her kids in New York while she's competing in Tokyo.

WEBSTER: This money is going to help us just to make sure that my parents are taken care of when my mom loses those 10 days of work.

INSKEEP: This grant and others come from the Women's Sports Foundation and the clothing maker Athleta. Track star Allyson Felix helped establish a fund for this. She is an Olympic gold medal winner who once criticized her own sponsor, Nike, for refusing to pay her while on maternity leave. She came on MORNING EDITION two years ago.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED NPR BROADCAST)

ALLYSON FELIX: Many times, you are still doing appearances, and you're doing work on behalf of the company, and you are still training. This is not just a Nike issue. This is the industry.

MARTINEZ: For Paralympian Lora Webster, the child care grant made it much easier to compete.

WEBSTER: Having a child and expanding your family should never be a burden like this where you have to choose between one dream and the other. And they've really created this opportunity where you don't have to choose.

MARTINEZ: And in this year's Paralympics, she won't have to choose.

(SOUNDBITE OF EL TEN ELEVEN'S "CONNIE") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.