EUGENE, Ore. — It's been 17 years since a California teenager named Allyson Felix first secured her spot on an Olympic team.
Nine Olympic medals, 13 world titles and one daughter later, she's done it again.
One of the most decorated athletes in the history of U.S. track and field, Felix officially secured her spot at the Tokyo Olympics on Sunday by finishing second in the final of the 400-meter dash at the Olympic trials, with a time of 50.02 seconds. This will be her fifth trip to the Summer Games, and her first as a mother.
"Man, it has been a fight to get here," Felix said on NBC after the race. "And one thing I know how to do is fight."
Felix, 35, has won multiple gold medals in each of the past two iterations of the Games and a total of six golds overall. Her performance Sunday ensured that she will compete individually in Tokyo at 400 meters, though she will likely also be part of at least one relay team – whether it's the women's 4×400 or the mixed-gender 4×400, which is a new event in 2021.
She is scheduled to run the 200-meter dash at trials next week, as well.
Quanera Hayes, 29, won the final with a time of 49.78, while 23-year-old Wadeline Jonathas came in third, one-hundredth of a second behind Felix.
While Felix is no stranger to Olympic competition, the road she's taken to these Games has been winding and, at times, bumpy.
In November 2018, Felix gave birth to her daughter, Camryn, by way of emergency C-section after being diagnosed with a potentially life-threatening pregnancy complication. Upon her return, one of her primary sponsors, Nike, attempted to cut her pay by 70% and declined to protect her pay if her post-pregnancy performances were not up to par. She has since switched to Athleta.
"I feel like everybody's been on this journey with me. They've seen me overcome some pretty big battles," Felix said Saturday. "There were moments I didn't think that I'd be able to make it to this point, and I think that makes me all the more grateful to be here."
Felix got back on the track in 2019 and won two relay gold medals at the world championships in Doha. But the Olympics have long been her primary goal. She's spoken repeatedly about wanting to get back on the podium to set an example for Camryn.
"I've always had a drive and a desire to win," she recently told USA TODAY Sports, "but I think now, being a mom, it's really about teaching her how to overcome adversity and showing her what hard work looks like."
Felix has said she intends to retire before the next Summer Games, in Paris in 2024, so Tokyo will be her final Olympic hurrah.
Contributing: Emily Adams
Contact Tom Schad at [email protected] or on Twitter @Tom_Schad.
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