Allyson Felix: Top five facts to know ahead of the U.S. Track and Field Olympic Trials

WEST HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - NOVEMBER 19: Track & field athlete Allyson Felix poses for a portrait during the Team USA Tokyo 2020 Olympics shoot on November 19, 2019 in West Hollywood, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
WEST HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - NOVEMBER 19: Track & field athlete Allyson Felix poses for a portrait during the Team USA Tokyo 2020 Olympics shoot on November 19, 2019 in West Hollywood, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

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.

Allyson Felix has taken Olympic medals in athletics at every Olympic Games since Athens 2004.

She’s a six-time gold medallist with an astounding nine Olympic medal haul across a career already spanning four Olympic Games.

The American sprinter heads into the U.S. Track and Field Olympic Trials in 2021 aged 35 and looking to fend off intense competition in order to secure her place at Tokyo 2020.

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.

ATHENS - AUGUST 26:  Silver medalist Allyson Felix of USA celebrates on the podium during the medal ceremony of the women's 200 metre event on August 26, 2004 during the Athens 2004 Summer Olympic Games at the Olympic Olympic Stadium in the Sports Complex in Athens, Greece. Veronica Campbell of Jamaica came first and Debbie Ferguson of Bahamas came third. (Photo by Stuart Hannagan/Getty Images)
ATHENS - AUGUST 26: Silver medalist Allyson Felix of USA celebrates on the podium during the medal ceremony of the women's 200 metre event on August 26, 2004 during the Athens 2004 Summer Olympic Games at the Olympic Olympic Stadium in the Sports Complex in Athens, Greece. Veronica Campbell of Jamaica came first and Debbie Ferguson of Bahamas came third. (Photo by Stuart Hannagan/Getty Images)
2004 Getty Images

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.

WALNUT, CA - JULY 09: Allyson Felix competes to a first place finish in the 150 meter dash during the Weltklasse Zurich Inspiration Games amidst the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on July 09, 2020 in Walnut, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
WALNUT, CA - JULY 09: Allyson Felix competes to a first place finish in the 150 meter dash during the Weltklasse Zurich Inspiration Games amidst the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on July 09, 2020 in Walnut, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
2020 Getty Images

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.”

BEIJING - AUGUST 23:  (L-R) Mary Wineberg, Allyson Felix, Monique Henderson and Sanya Richards of the United States hold their gold medals for the Women's 4 x 400m Relay at the National Stadium on Day 15 of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games on August 23, 2008 in Beijing, China.  (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
BEIJING - AUGUST 23: (L-R) Mary Wineberg, Allyson Felix, Monique Henderson and Sanya Richards of the United States hold their gold medals for the Women's 4 x 400m Relay at the National Stadium on Day 15 of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games on August 23, 2008 in Beijing, China. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
2008 Getty Images

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.

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - AUGUST 15: Shaunae Miller of the Bahamas falls over the finish line to win the gold medal in the Women's 400m Final ahead of silver medalist Allyson Felix of the United States (not pictured) on Day 10 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium on August 15, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - AUGUST 15: Shaunae Miller of the Bahamas falls over the finish line to win the gold medal in the Women's 400m Final ahead of silver medalist Allyson Felix of the United States (not pictured) on Day 10 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium on August 15, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)
2016 Getty Images

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.

LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 08:  Allyson Felix of the United States crosses the finish line ahead of Murielle Ahoure of Cote d'Ivoire a and Carmelita Jeter of the United States to win the Women's 200m Final on Day 12 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at Olympic Stadium on August 8, 2012 in London, England.  (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 08: Allyson Felix of the United States crosses the finish line ahead of Murielle Ahoure of Cote d'Ivoire a and Carmelita Jeter of the United States to win the Women's 200m Final on Day 12 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at Olympic Stadium on August 8, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
2012 Getty Images

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.

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - AUGUST 20:  Allyson Felix of the United States competes during the Women's 4 x 400 meter Relay on Day 15 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium on August 20, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.  (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - AUGUST 20: Allyson Felix of the United States competes during the Women's 4 x 400 meter Relay on Day 15 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium on August 20, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
2016 Getty Images

Sha’Carri Richardson is promising to be one of the exciting sprinters of her generation.

Tamara Clark, Gabrielle Thomas, Cambrea Sturgis, Anavia Battle, Jenna Prandini, and Brittany Brown have all posted times of 22.43s or faster this year.

The 400m is not much easier with Athing Mu, Shamier Little, and Quanera Hayes all breaking the 50 second barrier in 2021.

The stage is set for a fascinating competition.