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Allyson Felix: A Legendary Career
By: Jessica Wang
Recently, American track and field athlete Allyson Felix announced her retirement. Felix ran her last race in Eugene, Oregon – winning bronze and concludingher two-decades of running.
Allyson Felix is seven-time national champion in the Olympics, six-time Olympic placer, and played a key role in the U.S. Women’s team. People consider Felix the GOAT (The Greatest of all Time) in sprinting and track and field.
At just 17 years old, Felix finished second and qualified for the World Championships. A year later, she won an Olympic silver medal in Athens, setting a world record of 22.18 seconds running the 200-meter relay.
At age 19, she had already become the youngest world champion in history in the 200 meters at the 2005 Helsinki World Championships. She also received the Jesse Owens Award, meaning the chosen athlete of the year, given by the USA Track and Field.
In 2010, Felix transitioned from 200-meter races to 400-meter races. She became the first person to ever win two IAAF Diamond League trophies in the same year.
In 2011, Felix went to the World Championships in Athletics. Felix won two gold medals, a silver medal, and a bronze medal. She was the only one to leave the championships with four medals.
In 2012, Felix once again participated in the Olympic trials. She qualified for the 200-meters, but the 100-meter race was a bit more complicated. Felix and another sprinter, Jeneba Tarmoh, tied in the race. Both were required to do a run-off, or a tie-breaker, but Tarmoh withdrew because of fatigue. So, Felix got the spot for the 100-meters.
In 2019, after Felix gave birth to a beautiful young girl, she finished sixth in the 400-meter race at the U.S. national championships. Now, Felix surpassed Usain Bolt, another famous sprinting icon, in gold medals.
Aside from all of the medals and races, Felix also made big accomplishments in activism. In 2014, Felix traveled to a city named Rio de Janeiro to be a Sports Envoy in the ECA Sports Envoy program, a program to remove barriers between athletes with and without disabilities.
In 2018, Felix spoke to the US Congress. When she was pregnant, Felix discovered that she had pre-eclampsia, a blood pressure condition that develops during pregnancy, usually resulting in high blood pressure. Felix spoke about how the experience with pre-eclampsia had inspired her to raise awareness for other women.
“We need to provide women of color with more support during their pregnancies. There's a level of racial bias within our healthcare system that is troubling and will be difficult to tackle, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't,” Felix says.
In May of 2019, Felix wrote an op-ed for the New York Times. The article was about how Nike, a popular shoe company, wanted to pay her 70% less because she became a mother. She spoke about how most of the rules in the sports industry were mostly made for men, and how she needed to be a voice for women and maternal rights.
Later, Felix launched her own shoe brand called Saysh; the core mission was to undermine inequality with female athleticism and creativity.
"I'm trying to leave the sport better than I found it, trying to support female athletes and women in general and fight for more equality," Felix said on Instagram. "This season I'm running for women. I'm running for a better future for my daughter. I'm running for you.”