The most decorated athlete in track and field history will soon be retiring after a remarkable career. Allyson Felix, 36, just ran her last competitive lap on Friday evening at Hayward Field, where she took home the bronze medal for the U.S. running the second leg on a mixed 4×400-meter relay on the first night of the 18th Track and Field World Championships.
“It was an emotional day,” Felix said afterward to NBC Sports. She also shared that throughout the day, she began to feel a little overwhelmed. “There was a point, earlier today,” she said, “where I just started breaking down. [Her brother/agent] Wes came over and hugged me and talked to me. But once I got to the track, I got into my routine.”
“It was just a night to be grateful,” she continued. “All the messages I got. Just hearing how much people thought I meant to the sport. And then tonight, it really was a special night.”
Felix who’s competed professionally since the age of 18 has had a wild ride, both on and off of the track.
“It’s been an incredible journey,” she told the Pittsburgh Post Gazette. “I’ve really enjoyed my time over the years. I’ve had a lot of ups and downs. I love this sport so much. It’s broken my heart many times, but I’ve also had many really joyous moments.”
She later returned to the stands where her three year old daughter Cammy awaited her. “She told me I was sweaty,” said Felix, then laughed.
Felix delivered her daughter by cesarean section in 2018 after a difficult pregnancy. After years of doing as she was asked, and being careful to not rock the boat, Felix became inspired to share her story, and use her voice in many important issues regarding women.
Earlier this year in April when Felix originally announced her retirement, Felix also shared that she would be “running for women,” this year, and that she would be additionally focused on “[making] the world a better place for women.”
In 2021, Felix began publicly advocating for athlete mothers after Nike cut her endorsement pay following the birth of her daughter. She then began fighting to fund childcare for training moms.
“When I think about the world that Cammy will grow up in, I don’t want her — or any other woman or girl — to have to fight the battles that I fought,” Felix told CNBC via email in ‘21.
While Felix may be preparing for a full time role as an activist, (fingers crossed?) she wrapped up her final race with pride and the slightest bit of critique.
“I was determined to enjoy this year,” Felix said. “But yeah, it would have been great if this medal was gold. But I’m not going to dwell on that at all,” she said. “I’m proud.”