American sprinter Allyson Felix has made history in her last individual Olympic race. Felix took the bronze in the women’s 400-meter on Friday, her 10th career medal.
If she wins another, she’ll smash another record.
The 35-year-old U.S. track star had won nine medals across four Olympics — the most out of any female athlete in U.S. track and field history — heading into the games.
On Friday, she won her 10th medal in Tokyo, her first bronze, to become the most decorated woman in Olympic track and field history, besting the record held by Jamaica’s Merlene Ottey.
Felix finished with a time of 49.46 seconds. Bahamian runner Shaunae Miller-Uibo, the Rio gold medalist, dominated the race with a personal best to defend gold.
If Felix wins two medals at the games, Felix would have the most medals out of anyone in U.S. Olympic track and field history, surpassing legend Carl Lewis’ record of 10.
She also is a member of the relay pool, meaning she could run on the 4-x-400 meter relay Saturday.
The Los Angeles resident competed in the 400-meter after finishing second at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials for track and field in June with a season-best time of 50.02 seconds.
Felix qualified for Friday’s 400-meter final after placing second in her semifinal heat this week with a time of 49.89 seconds.
The U.S. women’s 400-meter relay team also advanced to the medal round after winning their heat on Thursday. She did not run in the heats, but Felix could run in Saturday’s final.
The U.S. team also competed in the 4-x-400 mixed relay final on July 31 — minus Felix — winning bronze. She had been considered a possibility for that race.
The legendary athlete is one of the most decorated in her sport. She has won six golds and three silvers in sprinting events at the games, starting with silver in the 200-meter in her Olympic debut as a teenager at the 2004 Athens Games.
Even if she wins medals in the 400 and 4-x-400, totaling 11, she’ll come up one shy of Finnish runner Paavo Nurmi, who holds the all-time record for track and field medals with 12.
In 2019, just 10 months after giving birth to her daughter, Felix broke the record for most gold medals of any athlete at the track and field world championship, when she clinched her 12th and 13th world titles.
The mom has been a prominent voice against gender inequality in sports. Writing in The New York Times in 2019, Felix detailed her lack of maternity protections with her then-sponsor Nike after giving birth to her daughter, Camryn. Following the publication of the opinion piece, Nike announced a new maternity policy for all sponsored athletes.
She recently launched a lifestyle brand, Saysh, that she says was inspired by her experience with “gender injustice” during her journey to motherhood.
She also has teamed up with apparel company Athleta and the Women’s Sports Foundation to launch The Power of She Fund: Child Care Grants, which help cover child care costs for professional mom-athletes traveling to competitions.
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