Snippet of History's Women: Women in Sports: Allyson Felix - USA Track and Field Sprinter and Olympic MedalistAllyson Felix
USA Track and Field Sprinter and Olympic Medalist

Allyson Felix is a USA Track and Field Sprinter who has won seven Olympic Gold & 11 Olympic medals overall. She’s also won 12 World Athletics Championships Gold medals. Which makes her the most-decorated woman in USA Track and Field history! She surpassed Usain Bolt as the most successful athlete in the history of the IAAF athletics world championships. She did this when she earned her 12th world title.

Born in 1985, the native Californian didn’t begin her Track and Field career until she was a high school freshman, but excelled from the very start and grew to love the sport – even skipping her senior prom for a track meet. Felix was also a gifted an athlete in other sports, playing basketball at a high level during her youth. Following high school, she gave up her college eligibility and signed a deal with Adidas before she went on to compete at four-consecutive Olympics, winning six gold medals and three silver. Her first Olympics was the 2004 Summer Games in Athens when she was just 18 years old. She has also competed at the 2008 Beijing games, 2012 London games, and 2016 Rio games. She is currently coached by Bobby Kersee, the 2005 USATF Coach of the Year.

In November 2014, Felix traveled to Brazil as a Sports United Sports Envoy for the U.S. State Department. In this function, she worked with other athletes to conduct clinics, speeches and other events for 510 youth, many of whom had disabilities or came from marginalized communities. The program was designed to remove barriers and create activities that benefit audiences with and without disabilities, whilst speaking with a young, at-risk public about important life and sports values, such as respect, discipline and overcoming adversity.

She is retiring at the end of the 2022 track and field competition season. She wants to make her last season one of joy! She said she would be running for women and “for a better future for my daughter.”

Felix was raised as a devout Christian by her father, an ordained minister, and mother, a school teacher, in Los Angeles, California alongside her brother, Wes–who is also a sprinter. She has been quoted as saying her Christian faith is the reason she runs. “I definitely feel I have this amazing gift that God has blessed me with,” she said. “And it’s all about using it to the best of my ability.”

Despite her busy schedule, she maintains close relations with her family, especially her brother Wes–who serves as her manager. She is in a longtime relationship with fellow sprinter Kenneth Ferguson.

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