Allyson Felix Becomes Most Decorated Female Track Olympian

by Erica Gerald Mason
Anadolu Agency/Getty

The athlete returned to the Olympics to break some serious records

In a testimony to the greatness of women in sport (and…well…women everywhere), Allyson Felix showed up to the Tokyo Olympics and cemented her place in the history books.

Felix won bronze in the women’s 400m in Tokyo on Friday night, becoming the most decorated female track and field athlete ever. Let’s say that again, in case we haven’t made it clear: the. Most. Decorated. Female. Track. And. Field. Athlete. Ever. In a year when a pandemic rages and the Olympic experience is unlike one ever seen in recent history, Felix did that.

To make the benchmark even sweeter, the wins ties Carl Lewis as the most decorated American, according to People.

Felix posted a photo on Instagram ahead of Friday’s event.

“Tomorrow, I step into the Olympic Stadium to compete in my 5th Olympic Games. It might sound cliche, but getting to that starting line is an incredible victory for me,” she captioned the sweet photo. “I’ve experienced the hardest years of my life in this journey and by God’s grace I’m here.”

The Olympian and mama took a moment to acknowledge what it took to get to the world’s stage. “With a heart full of gratitude I’m taking space to remember all it took to get here. So when you see me on the track I hope you understand my fight.”

The champ acknowledged that she is at a certain age in a sport that centers young runners: Felix returns to the world stage at 35 after becoming a mother to daughter Cammy in late 2018. “As an athlete who was told I was too old, as a woman who was told to know my place, as a mother who wasn’t sure I would live to raise my daughter,” the caption continued. “I hope you see that for me, it’s about so much more than what the clock says.”

Before the Olympics, Felix took to Instagram to bid a brief goodbye to her daughter.

“My heart aches leaving Cammy today to head to Tokyo. It will be the longest we’ve ever been apart,” she captioned the photo. “But, the fight to get to this point has shown me my strength and I’m excited for all the reasons I’m running- for greater equity for each of us and for women. One day when I tell her this story I know she will be proud of her Mama.”

After her win, Felix posted a stunning black and white shot of her wearing her medals. In the pic, Felix gazes into the camera, and what appears to be a Cesarean scar can be seen on her lower abdomen.

“I know place,” the caption reads. “And it’s in my own shoes.”

The comment and likes section of her photo reads like a who’s who of big names: Olympian Usain Bolt commented with the prayer hands emoji, Katie Couric dropped the waving hands emoji, while Lupita Nyong’o liked the photo.

It was Peloton instructor Robin Arzon who left the most apt comment: “Phew!!! A whole word. Respect on her name and legacy, y’all.”