Allyson Michelle Felix (born November 18, 1985) is an American track and field sprinter who competes in the 100 meters, 200 meters, and 400 meters. At 200 meters, she is the 2012 Olympic champion, a 3-time World champion (2005–09), and 2-time Olympic silver medalist (2004–08). At 400 meters, she is the 2015 World champion and 2016 Olympic silver medalist. She has won five additional Olympic gold medals as a member of the United States' women's relay teams: three at 4 × 400 meters (2008–16), and two at 4 x 100 meters (2012–16). The 2012 U.S. Olympic 4 x 100 meters team also set the women's 4x100 meters world-record that still stands. Felix is the only female track and field athlete to ever win six Olympic gold medals, and is tied with Merlene Ottey as the most decorated female Olympian in track and field history, with a total of nine Olympic medals.
Felix's 200 meters best of 21.69 secs from 2012, ranks her sixth on the all-time list. In 2013, she broke the world best for the rarely contested 150 meters distance, running 16.36 secs. In the 4 × 400 metres relay at the 2015 World Championships, she ran the fastest split ever recorded by an American woman, and third fastest split ever after Jarmila Kratochvilova and Marita Koch, with 47.72.
As a participant in the US Anti-Doping Agency's "Project Believe" program, Felix is regularly tested to ensure that her body is free of performance-enhancing drugs. She is coached by Bobby Kersee.
Born and raised in California, Felix is a devout Christian and the daughter of Paul, an ordained minister and professor of New Testament at The Master's Seminary in Santa Clarita Valley, California, and Marlean who is an elementary school teacher at Balboa Magnet Elementary. Her older brother Wes Felix is also a sprinter. Also running the 200 m, he was the USA Junior Champion in 2002 and the Pac-10 champion in 2003 and 2004 while running for USC. Wes now acts as the agent for his sister. Felix describes her running ability as a gift from God, "For me, my faith is the reason I run. I definitely feel I have this amazing gift that God has blessed me with, and it's all about using it to the best of my ability."
Allyson Felix attended Los Angeles Baptist High School in North Hills, California, where she was nicknamed "Chicken Legs" by her teammates, because the five-foot-six, 125-pound sprinter's body had skinny legs despite her strength. But Felix's slightness was at seeming odds with her speed on the track and strength in the gym, where, while still in high school, she deadlifted at least 270 pounds. She credits much of her success to her coach, Samson Young.
Felix began to discover her athletic talents after she tried out for track in the ninth grade. Just ten weeks after that first tryout, she finished ninth in the 200 m at the CIF California State Meet. In the coming seasons, she became a five-time winner at the meet. In 2003 she was named the national girls' "High School Athlete of the Year" by Track and Field News. As a senior, Felix finished second in the 200 m at the US Indoor Track & Field Championships. A few months later, in front of 50,000 fans in Mexico City, she ran 22.11 seconds, the fastest in history for a high school girl (though it could not count as a World Junior record because there was no drug testing at the meet).
Felix graduated in 2003, making headlines by forgoing college eligibility to sign a professional contract with Adidas. Adidas paid her an undisclosed sum and picked up her college tuition at the University of Southern California. She has since graduated with a degree in elementary education.
At just 18, Felix finished as silver medalist in the 200 meters at the 2004 Summer Olympics, behind Veronica Campbell of Jamaica; in doing so, she set a World Junior record over 200 meters with her time of 22.18.
Felix became the youngest gold medalist sprinter in the 200 meters at the World Championships in Helsinki in 2005 and then successfully defended her title at Osaka two years later. At Osaka, Felix caught Jamaican Veronica Campbell on the bend and surged down the straight to finish in 21.81 seconds, lowering her own season-leading time by a massive 0.37 seconds. After the final she stated that "I feel so good, I am so excited. I have been waiting for so long to run such a time, to run under 22 seconds. it has not been an easy road, but finally I managed," said Felix. At that time, she addressed her future, saying, "My next goal is not the world record, but a gold in Beijing. I want to take it step by step. I might consider to do both – the 200 and the 400 meters – there." Felix became only the second female athlete; after Marita Koch in 1983 to win three gold medals at a single IAAF World Championships in Athletics.
Felix qualified for the 2008 Olympic Games during the 2008 Olympic trials in the 200 meters, but just missed qualifying for the 100 meter. However, at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, despite running her season's best time in the 200 meters at 21.93, Felix again finished second to Campbell, who ran 21.74, the best time in the decade, to clinch the gold medal. Felix also ran the 4 × 400 meters relay as a member of the U.S. women's team. The team finished first, giving Felix her first Olympic gold medal.
In the build-up to the 2009 World Championships in Athletics Felix was part of a United States 4 × 100 m relay team that ran the fastest women's sprint relay in twelve years. Lauryn Williams, Felix, Muna Lee and Carmelita Jeter finished with a time of 41.58 seconds, bringing them to eighth on the all-time list. In 2009 aged just 23, Felix proceeded to claim her third 200-meter World Championships gold medal, an unprecedented accomplishment in women's sprinting. Felix clocked 22.02 sec to comfortably beat Jamaica's Olympic 200 m champion Veronica Campbell-Brown.
Afterwards she said, "It's really special to win a third world title. I wanted to do it in this stadium, represent my country and make Jesse Owens proud." But Felix admitted that she would rather have the one gold medal that she was missing. "I would love to trade my three world championships for your gold," Felix jokingly said to Veronica Campbell-Brown of Jamaica at the medalists' news conference. She referred to the 2008 Olympic gold medal in the 200 m, a race Felix was heavily favored to win. She was distressed over finishing second to Campbell-Brown when it happened in Beijing and still obsessed about it a year later. "I don't think I ever want to get over it," Felix said. "I never want to be satisfied with losing." At the same time she also commented, "I'm just grateful to have had success quickly, and sometimes I do have to pinch myself and realize all this has happened in not that much time."
In 2010, Felix focused on running more 400 m races. Running the 200 m and the 400 m, she became the first person ever to win two IAAF Diamond League trophies in the same year. She continued her dominance by winning 21 races out of 22 starts, only losing to Veronica Campbell-Brown in New York. Incidentally, it was there that Brown set the WL time of 21.98 seconds. In 2011, Felix attended the 'Great City Games' held in the streets of Manchester on 15 May. It was there that she set the world leading time in the 200 m, which was 22.12. She also ran a 10.89 in the second 100 m of the race.
At the 2011 World Championships in Athletics, Felix participated in the 200 and 400 meter events, as well as the 4×100 and 4×400 meter relays. First up was the 400 meter event, where Felix was placed in lane 3 in the final and finished second in a time of 49.59, 0.03 behind winner Amantle Montsho, who she had beaten throughout the season. In the 200 meter final, running also in lane 3, Felix finished third in an under-par time of 22.42 due to fatigue. Veronica Campbell-Brown won the gold and Carmelita Jeter won silver. In the relay events, Felix ran the second leg in both the 4 × 100 m and 4 × 400 m. Team USA won both events and attained world-leading times in both finals as Felix added two World Championship gold medals to her collection.
In 2012, Felix returned to the Olympic Trials, the schedule of events virtually requiring she choose between attempting to qualify in the 100 m or 400 m as her secondary event behind the 200 m. She chose the 100 m and advanced to the final, the top 3 finishers were to go on to the 2012 Summer Olympics as part of the 100 m team. In the final, she ran 11.01, good enough for 3rd, but not without controversy. Officials ruled the race a tie after initially declaring the inexperienced Jeneba Tarmoh the winner. There was to be a run off for the 3rd spot between Tarmoh and Felix, but Tarmoh pulled out of the 100-meter runoff scheduled for Monday July 2, 2012, thus conceding the final 100 m spot to Felix.
In the 200 m final at the Olympic Trials, Felix ran a personal best and a meet record of 21.69, the third fastest time an American has ever run and the fourth fastest ever. Carmelita Jeter and Sanya Richards-Ross placed 2nd and 3rd respectively.
At the 2012 Summer Olympics Felix competed in four events: The 100 m, 200 m, 4 × 100 m relay, and 4 × 400 m relay, placing 5th in the 100 m and winning gold in the other three, thus becoming the first American woman to win three golds in athletics at an Olympics since Florence Griffith-Joyner at the 1988 Summer Olympics. In her first final, the 100 m, she placed 5th, running a personal best time of 10.89 seconds. In the 200 m final; a race she lost at the 2008 Summer Olympics and 2004 Summer Olympics to Jamaican rival, Veronica Campbell-Brown, it proved third time lucky as she beat Campbell-Brown, and also the 2012 100 m Olympic Gold medallist, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, who finished second. American compatriot Carmelita Jeter took the bronze.
Felix took to the track again on August 10, 2012 as part of the women's 4 × 100 m relay team with Tianna Madison, Bianca Knight, and Carmelita Jeter. The foursome went on to smash the long held world record of 41.37, set by East Germany in October 1985. This record was set before Allyson Felix, Bianca Knight, or Tianna Madison were even born.
On the final night of athletics August 11, 2012, Felix ran the 2nd leg of the women's 4 × 400 m (in a leg time of 48.20), with DeeDee Trotter, Francena McCorory, and Sanya Richards-Ross, with the winning time being 3:16.87, the 3rd fastest time in Olympic history behind the Soviet Union and United States at the 1988 Summer Olympics, and the 5th fastest time overall.
In the 2013 World Championships in Moscow, Felix entered the 200 m and was expected to also appear in the relay finals, but pulled up in the 200 m final with a hamstring injury and was carried from the track. The race was won by Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce.
After a nine-month layoff because of a hamstring injury, Felix resumed competition in the 400 m at the Shanghai Diamond League meet in May 2014 which she finished fifth with a time of 50.81. She later competed in the Eugene Diamond League meet for 200 m and finished third with a season's best of 22.44. She got back into form short after and in the Oslo Diamond League meet she finished first in the 200 m for her first win of the season with a time of 22.73. Later she also took part in the Paris and Glasgow Diamond League meetings.
In Paris, she ran her season's best again (22.34) only behind Blessing Okagbare from Nigeria, who ran a time of 22.32. In Glasgow, she lost to Dafne Schippers from the Netherlands, a hepthalon athlete, which set a national record of 22.34. Felix was just 0.01 second behind her. Felix later took part in the Stockholm Diamond league, where she won the race with a time of 22.85, what became her second win of the season. In a result she took the lead in the Diamond Race standings of 200 m. In the last Diamond League meeting of the season, in Brussels, Belgium, she won the race with a world leading time of 22.02, and also won the Diamond Race.
As the winner of the 2014 IAAF Diamond League 200 meter title, Felix received a bye into the 2015 World Championships in Athletics. Obligated to enter the 2015 USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships but not needing to run the 200, she chose the 400 metres. She won the event in 50.19 for her 10th U.S. Championship, coming from 4th place with 100 metres to go to pass Natasha Hastings before the finish. The National Championships also saw then World #1ranked Francena McCorory and #2 Sanya Richards-Ross not qualify for the World Championships should Felix choose to run 400 meters.
The schedule for the World Championships had the 400 meter final occur just over an hour after the 200 meter semi-finals, making it virtually impossible to perform to world championship level in both events. As of July 1, she had the fastest seed time in both the 400 (.11 over the fastest competitor) and 200 (.22 over the fastest competitor). This left Felix with a difficult choice as to which event she would put her effort into at the World Championships.
Eventually, Felix chose to focus on the 400 metres, going on to win her first gold medal in the event with a personal best of 49.26 in the final. In doing so, Felix became the first woman to win World titles in the 200 m and the 400 m; additionally, she has now won the most World gold medals, and most World medals total, out of any American. Later on, she won silver medals in both the 4 × 100 m relay and 4 × 400 m relay. In the latter race, Felix received a baton while having a huge deficit to leading Jamaica. She then ran her leg in time of 47.72 and regained the lead for the USA before the final handoff. Running the final leg Francena McCorory was not able to hold on the lead and was overtaken by Novlene Williams-Mills in the final meters.
Felix got off to an uncharacteristically slow start in 2016. During a gym workout in April, she dropped from a pull-up bar and landed awkwardly, twisting her right ankle and tearing multiple ligaments. As a result, she could barely even walk, and had to switch up her training plan. She was slated to run in a Diamond League meet in Doha as well as the Prefontaine Classic, but pulled out of both meets. In early June, she ran the 400 m in 51.23 at a lowkey San Diego meet.
While still injured, she went to the 2016 Olympic Trials in Eugene, Oregon to attempt to qualify for the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics in the 200 m and 400 m on her quest for double gold in those respective races. In the 400 m final, she was in the middle of the pack after 300 meters but sprinted past the entire field the last 100 meters to pull out a world-leading time of 49.68. Then, in the 200 m final, she was narrowly edged out by Jenna Prandini, who dove across the line to take the third spot on the team, beating Felix by 0.01 seconds (22.53 to 22.54) With that, Felix lost the chance to attempt her historic 200 m-400 m double. She took the rest of July and the early part of August to give her ankle more time to heal while she prepared for the Olympics.
At the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics, Felix took her overall Olympic haul to nine – six golds and three silvers. Her total matches the six silvers and three bronze medals held by Jamaican sprinter Merlene Ottey in numerical terms but outranks her in terms of precious metal. Felix hopes of winning a 400m gold medal came up short, after she lost by 0.07 to Shaunae Miller of Bahamas, who made a dramatic dive across the finish line. Felix recovered from the disappointing run, to win two golds with 4 × 100 m and 4 × 400 m relays. The first win came after controversy, as Team USA was initially disqualified in their semifinal run, after Felix had lost a baton on a handoff to English Gardner. The replays showed that Felix was bumped by a Brazilian runner just before a handoff, which caused her lose her balance. This decision, however, was disputable and initiated discussion on the internet about the qualification of Team USA. After the appeal was accepted, Team USA was awarded a solo run on the next day. With a successful time trial Felix and her teammates advanced to the final, which they eventually won.
Allyson Felix is a four-time recipient of the Jesse Owens Award from USATF signifying the Athlete of the Year. She won the award for the first time in 2005, and then again in 2007, 2010 and 2012. She is only the second woman (after Marion Jones) to win the award three times. Felix also won the IAAF female athlete of the year in 2012.
|60 meters||7.10||Fayetteville, Arkansas, United States||February 12, 2012|
|100 meters||10.89||London, United Kingdom||August 4, 2012|
|200 meters||21.69||Eugene, United States||June 30, 2012|
|300 meters||36.33||Fayetteville, Arkansas, United States||February 9, 2007|
|400 meters||49.26||Beijing, China||August 27, 2015|
- At the 2012 Summer Olympics Felix ran the second leg of the 4 × 400 m relay in a time of 48.2 seconds.
- At the 2015 World Championships Felix ran the third leg of the 4 × 400 m relay in a time of 47.72 seconds (2nd fastest ever 4 × 400 m split by any woman and fastest 4 × 400 m split by an American woman)
- 6 Times US National 200 Meters Champion - 2004, 05, 07, 08, 09, 12
- 2010 US National 100 Meters Champion
- 3 Times US National 400 Meters Champion - 2011, 2015, 2016
- Note: The 2004, 2008, 2012, and 2016 US Championships incorporated the US Olympic Track and Field Trials
|Representing United States|
|2001||World Youth Championships||Debrecen, Hungary||1st||100 m||11.57|
|2002||World Junior Championships||Kingston, Jamaica||5th||200 m||23.48 (wind: -0.2 m/s)|
|2nd (h)||4 × 100 m relay||43.92|
|2003||Pan American Games||Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic||3rd||200 m||22.93|
|1st||4 × 100 m||43.06|
|2004||Olympic Games||Athens, Greece||2nd||200 m||22.18|
|2005||World Championships||Helsinki, Finland||1st||200 m||22.16|
|2006||World Athletics Final||Stuttgart, Germany||1st||200 m||22.11|
|2007||World Championships||Osaka, Japan||1st||200 m||21.81|
|1st||4 × 100 m relay||41.98|
|1st||4 × 400 m relay||3:18.55|
|2008||Olympic Games||Beijing, China||2nd||200 m||21.93|
|1st||4 × 400 m relay||3:18.54|
|2009||World Championships||Berlin, Germany||1st||200 m||22.02|
|1st||4 × 400 m relay||3:17.83|
|2010||World Indoor Championships||Doha, Qatar||1st||4 × 400 m relay||3:27.34|
|2011||World Championships||Daegu, South Korea||3rd||200 m||22.42|
|1st||4 × 100 m||41.56|
|1st||4 × 400 m||3:18.09|
|2012||Olympic Games||London, United Kingdom||5th||100 m||10.89|
|1st||4 × 100 m relay||40.82 (WR)|
|1st||4 × 400 m relay||3:16.88|
|2013||World Championships||Moscow, Russia||DNF||200 m||DNF|
|2015||World Relay Championships||Nassau, Bahamas||2nd||4 × 100 m relay||42.32|
|World Championships||Beijing, China||1st||400 m||49.26|
|2nd||4 × 100 m relay||41.68|
|2nd||4 × 400 m relay||3:19.44|
|2016||Olympic Games||Rio de Janeiro, Brazil||2nd||400 m||49.51|
|1st||4 × 100 m relay||41.01|
|1st||4 × 400 m relay||3:19.06|
Golden League wins
- 2008 - Rome (400 m), Zurich (200 m)
Diamond League wins
- 2010 - Doha (400 m), Eugene (400 m), Paris (200 m), Stockholm (200 m), London (400 m), Zurich (400 m), Brussels (200 m)
- 2011 - Doha (400 m), Rome (400 m), New York (200 m)
- 2012 - Doha (100 m), Eugene (200 m)
- 2013 - London (200 m)
- 2014 - Oslo (200 m), Stockholm (200 m), Brussels (200 m)
- 2015 - Doha (200 m), Lausanne (200 m)
Diamond League titles
- 2010 Overall 200 m Diamond Race Title
- 2010 Overall 400 m Diamond Race Title
- 2014 Overall 200 m Diamond Race Title
- 2015 Overall 200 m Diamond Race Title
- Competed only in the heat.
- ^ http://www.diamondleague.com/diamond-race/archive/2010/
In November 2014, Felix traveled to Brazil as a SportsUnited Sports Envoy for the U.S. Department of State. In this function, she worked with Josh George to conduct clinics, speeches and other events for 510 youth, many of whom had disabilities or came from marginalized communities. The program was designed to remove barriers and create activities that benefit audiences with and without disabilities, whilst speaking with a young, at-risk public about important life and sports values, such as respect, discipline and overcoming adversity.