Allyson Felix is the most decorated U.S. track and field athlete of all-time but her place at Tokyo 2020 is by no means guaranteed. Here’s everything you need to know.
She’s a six-time gold medallist with an astounding nine Olympic medal haul across a career already spanning four Olympic Games.
Felix is expected to compete for a spot in the 200m and 400m. Plus, the relay events.
Recovering from life-threatening surgery to give birth to her daughter, Felix’s journey to the start line has been a fraught with enormous challenges.
There have been setbacks on the track since her return but the 13-time world champion is running her fastest times in the 400m (50.88 seconds) since 2017.
Here are the top five things to know about Allyson Felix ahead of the 2021 U.S. Track and Field Olympic Trials.
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Allyson Felix: Becoming a mother
A routine appointment at 32 weeks during her pregnancy put the lives of both Allyson Felix, and her unborn daughter, at risk.
Felix was diagnosed with severe pre-eclampsia, a condition that means high blood pressure and potential damage to organ systems. She had to have an emergency caesarean section.
Camryn, her daughter, went to a specialist intensive care unit for a month.
Both mother and daughter made a full recovery.
“Camryn is very happy, she has a lot of smiles and [she’s] very strong. We're already noticing that,” Felix said to the Olympic Channel.
Allyson Felix: Pregnancy and addressing U.S. Congress
But the whole experience was scary.
Felix started researching the subject and began talking to other mothers about their experiences. Eventually, she addressed the U.S. Congress, as the Undefeated reported.
“I learned that my story was not so uncommon,” Felix said.
“[There were others] just like me. Black like me, healthy like me, doing their best — just like me. They faced death like me, too, and as I started to talk to more of those women and hear about their experiences, I learned that black women are upwards of three times more likely to die from childbirth than white mothers are in the United States and that we suffer severe complications twice as often.”
The experience may have been enough for some people to call time on their sporting careers but not Allyson Felix.
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Allyson Felix: The drama of qualification for Rio 2016
It’s worth recapping the crazy, emotional, and dramatic twists and turns of the last Olympics for Allyson Felix.
She was preparing to compete for individual Olympic gold medals in both the 200m and 400m – with the schedule at the Games allowing this to be actually possible.
After winning the 400m at 2016 trials, she missed out on qualification in the 200m by 0.01s.
According to NBC, it was first time she failed to qualify for an Olympic or world championships team in the 200m since she was 15 years old in 2001.
An ankle injury had hampered preparations.
“This whole year, that had been what I was working for, so for it to end here is disappointing,” she said at the time.
“Then when I look back, and I see everything that happened, I still think it’s quite amazing.”
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Allyson Felix: The famous fall / dive at the 400m final at Rio 2016
The 400m final in Rio was one of the most memorable of all-time when Felix was pipped on the line by a diving Shaunae Miller Uibo.
The Bahamian runner says she fell.
“I've met a lot of people afterwards [who] came to me in such an inspiring way… just telling me that it inspired them to actually go after [a goal].
“It's all a blessing and a humbling experience,” Shaunae said to the Olympic Channel Podcast.
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Either way – it was another disappointment for Felix.
She bounced back and still returned from Brazil with two Olympic gold medals in 4x100m and 4x400m relays.
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Allyson Felix: London 2012 glory and Tokyo 2020 aims
Allyson Felix was crowned Olympic champion in the 200m at London 2012. It remains her only individual Olympic title.
Competition for places in that event for the USA at 2021 trials will be fierce.
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Sha’Carri Richardson is promising to be one of the exciting sprinters of her generation.
The stage is set for a fascinating competition.