Allyson Felix became the most decorated US track and field athlete in Olympics history after helping Team USA win the women’s 400m sprint relay on Saturday.
It was Felix’s 11th Olympic medal and her seventh gold, overtaking sprint legend Carl Lewis’ haul of 10 medals. She remains one short of Finland’s Paavo Nurmi all-time track and field record of 12 medals.
The US team of Felix, Sydney McLaughlin, Dalilah Muhammad and Athing Mu stormed away to the win, with Poland taking home the silver with a national record and Jamaica securing the bronze.
“The first was a very, very long time ago [in Athens 2004] when everything was new,” the 35-year-old Felix told reporters. “And this one everything is different but in a good way. I am so pleased it was running with these amazing women.”
Preparations for Tokyo 2020 were by no means smooth for Felix. In November 2018, she struggled with preeclampsia and had an emergency C-section at 32 weeks to deliver her daughter Camryn.
Like many other athletes, Felix was also forced to adapt her training schedule, practicing on empty soccer fields and beaches during the initial stages of the pandemic in 2020.
But becoming a parent, in particualr, has helped Felix find her voice when it comes to speaking out against social injustice.
Thinking about the type of world she wants to raise her daughter in has opened her eyes, she says.
“I’ve always had the desire to win […] now it’s really about the way that I want to show her how to overcome adversity,” she told CNN Sport ahead of Tokyo 2020.
Speaking after the race, 19-year-old Mu told reporters just how much a role model Felix has been to a new generation of US athletes.
“Most definitely Allyson is an amazing athlete. I’m astonished by everything she does, even coming out here at her last Games,” said Mu.
“Knowing her story a little more, knowing that everything is more than just track and field for her, that’s just definitely an inspiration.
“It makes us all want to figure out more about ourselves and let our stories be heard. It’s just great to be with her, kind of starting my career off. That’s really nice.”