Allyson Felix, who will compete for Team USA in the 2016 Rio Olympics, isn’t just one of the most impressive female athletes of the decade—she’s one of the most impressive athletes, period.
Felix, 30, has won more world championship gold medals than any other U.S. track and field athlete. She also holds six Olympic medals (four gold), along with 19 other medals from international competition.
She has been named the Jesse Owens Athlete of the Year Award four times by the U.S. Track and Field Organization and was named the IAAF (International Association of Athletics Federations) female athlete of the year in 2012. In 2009, she was appointed as a member of President Obama’s Council on Fitness, Sports, and Nutrition. In 2014, she traveled to Brazil with SportsUnited as an Envoy for the U.S. Department of State, working to empower disabled youths and speak out about sports values like discipline, respect, and diversity. In the 2012 London Olympics, Felix became the first female U.S. track athlete to win three gold medals at a single Olympic Games since 1988.
Despite all this success, she remains improbably humble. Her motto? “Medals are won in training.”
Felix has repeatedly told reporters that although she loves the rush of adrenaline during the race, the real work happens out of the public eye: “Medals are won in training, in those moments that are tough and when you’re by yourself, where it’s just you and your coach and your training partners.”
She’s a three-time World Champion and two-time Olympic silver medalist in the 200-meter, but did not qualify to defend her medals what many call her “signature event.”
Felix was understandably disappointed after falling short in the 200-meter U.S. team track and field qualifying race by a mere 0.01 seconds. But she has stayed positive, citing her injury earlier this year, saying, “When I look back and see everything that happened, I still think it’s quite amazing I was able to make the team.”
Frustratingly, Felix’s chance at the 200-meter/400-meter Olympic double was only made possible by a special request to the IOC— one that carries little weight now. Longtime rival, Jamaican sprinter Veronica Campbell-Brown, will compete in the 200-meter, defending her 2004 and 2008 gold medal wins.
Without the 200-meter race in her schedule, Felix won’t get a chance to be only the third woman to ever win gold in the 200-meter and 400-meter in the same Olympics, and forgoes the possibility of tying former Jamaican star Merlene Ottey’s nine Olympic medals.
But with her two remaining events, she can still surpass Jackie Joyner-Kersee as the most decorated American female track and field Olympian of all time.
Felix will still compete in the 400-meter race and the women’s 4x400-meter relay, in which she won a gold medal at the 2012 London Olympics. The preliminary matchups for her only race—the 400-meter—will take place on August 13th at 10:00 a.m. EST.
But medaling in the 400-meter is in no way assured.
Felix will compete with South Africa’s Caster Semenya, who is back to her old self after the Court of Arbitration of Sport suspended a highly contested the hormone therapy mandate in 2015. Felix has never won the 400-meter individual race in an Olympic competition and Semenya was not present when Felix took gold in the 2015 Beijing World Championships.
Guess we’ll all just have to watch on Saturday to see what happens.
How to Live Stream Allyson Felix’s Races:
NBCUniversal’s networks and digital platforms will be showing nearly 7,000 hours of programing over 19 days during the 2016 Rio Summer Olympics.NBCOlympics.com and the NBC Sports app will also live stream coverage of the Games for paid TV subscribers via TV Everywhere. You can download the NBC Sports app to your Android TV, Apple TV, Xbox or Roku or use the iOS, Android or Windows Phone apps.
Watch Allyson Felix lose the chance to compete in the 200m Olympic race: