EUGENE, Oregon. “It wasn’t quite a golden farewell for Allyson Felix.
But still, it was a moment she’ll never forget — and one she’d dreamed of for nearly two decades.
Félix won his 30th major international medal at the 2022 world athletics championships on Friday night, racing the return leg of the mixed 4×400 relay as the Americans won bronze.
“Being able to come out here in front of a local crowd is something I’ve always wanted,” said Felix, who burst onto the runway scene as a teenager in Los Angeles and became one of sport’s brightest stars. “To be able to have that, obviously not in the prime of my career, to finish here tonight, to have (his daughter) Cammy in the stands, to share that moment meant a lot.”
The 36-year-old will leave the sport next month with 19 world championship medals, in addition to the seven gold, three silver and one bronze she has won in five Olympic appearances.
The USA team of Felix, Elija Godwin, Vernon Norwood and Kennedy Simon led for large swathes of Friday night’s final at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon, but Simon was passed in the closing yards by Republic women Dominican Republic and the Netherlands, which took gold and silver, respectively.
More Athletics World Championships:The Kenyan sprinter’s travel nightmare nearly caused him to miss out on world championships. He still reached the semi-finals.
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In the weeks leading up to his competitive farewell, Felix joked that 3-year-old Cammy “doesn’t get it” – mum’s accomplishments are too much for a toddler to comprehend. Maybe Cammy will grow up and fall in love with the track itself. Maybe she won’t. Regardless, Felix believes there are still lessons his little girl can learn in all areas of life.
“I think it’s about being a fighter,” Felix said. “No matter what you do, it’s a spirit I hope she carries, a confidence I hope she has and that’s what I want to teach her – that you always stand up for what you believe, for what is right.”
Then, laughing: “And I’ll be very happy if she doesn’t get on the track. I’m going to encourage her to do a lot of other things.”
Felix announced his retirement earlier this year. She did not qualify for an individual spot on the world championship team, but was selected to compete in the mixed relay. Felix helped the Americans win gold in this event at the previous world championships in Doha, Qatar in 2019.
A bronze medal might have been disappointing earlier in his career, Felix acknowledged. But this time, all she felt was gratitude.
“The last two years I’ve come out of the clock and the medals, I never imagined it would be a place I would have come to, but I did,” she said. “I think it was about being a performance for women, mothers – I really felt that everywhere tonight I felt the love.
“I felt joy while running tonight.”
Her legacy, her teammates said, extends far beyond the track.
“What she’s done for the sport speaks for itself,” Norwood said.
“There is not a single story that can explain the impact she had on the sport,” Godwin added. “She’s an icon in the sport, for us to come out and compete with her, it’s a blessing to have the opportunity.”
And yes, she is also a celebrity for them.
“It’s like we’re part of the story to have a picture with her,” Godwin said, as a smile stretched across his face. “For me, that’s the most important part. I just want my picture with her.