Olympic runner Alysia Montaño criticized Nike’s maternity leave policy in a video produced by The New York Times that was released on Tuesday.

Montaño says in the video that when she told Nike she wanted to have a baby, she was told they would pause her contract and halt her pay. She also noted the U.S. Olympic Committee strips athletes’ health insurance if they do not remain at the “top of [their] game” during pregnancies.

“The sports industry allows for men to have a full career. And when a woman decides to have a baby, it pushes women out at their prime,” Montaño says in the video.


Montaño said she said she left Nike for Asics, but the Japanese company also sought to stop paying her during her recovery from her second pregnancy.

“I was very upset that there was not a policy in place that would protect me, and I fought tooth and nail to make sure that this would not happen to other women,” Montaño says.

The runner championed maternity leave legislation to keep athletes from losing their health insurance upon becoming mothers. The lack of such protections, she adds, puts maternal health at risk, adding that athletic companies often implement confidentiality clauses for the athletes they sponsor, which in turn prevents them from discussing the problem.

“So companies like Nike tell us to ‘dream crazy,’ ” Montaño says in the video. “We say ‘how about you stop treating our pregnancies like injuries?’ ”