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Allyson Felix (born November 18, 1985 in Los Angeles, Californiamarker) is a track and field sprint athlete who competes internationally for the United Statesmarker, primarily in the 200 meters. She is a two-time Olympic silver medalist in that event, as well as being the only woman ever to be a three-time Athletics World Championship gold medalist for that distance. She is also an Olympic gold medalist, winning gold at the Beijing 2008 Olympics as a member of the United States' Women's 4 x 400 meter relay team.

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.

Early life

Felix, born and raised in Southern California, is a devout Christian and is the daughter of Paul an ordained minister and professor of New Testament at The Master's Seminary in Sun Valley, California, and Marlean who is an elementary school teacher. Felix sees her running ability as a gift from God, "My faith is the reason I run – it calms my heart and makes everything feel like a lift. My speed is definitely a gift from Him, and I run for His glory. Whatever I do, He allows me to do it."

High School

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 Allyson's slightness was at seeming odds with her speed on the track and strength in the gym, where, while still in high school, deadlifted at least 270 pounds.

Allyson didn't discover her gift until she tried out for track in the ninth grade. Just ten weeks after that first tryout, she finished seventh in the 200 at the state championships; in the coming seasons, she became a five-time California high school state champ. As a senior, Felix finished second in the 200 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.

Felix graduated in 2003, making headlines by foregoing 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 Californiamarker. She has since graduated with a degree in elementary education.

Felix has also shown that she can overcome adversity. During her junior year of high school, she pulled a hamstring at the state championships and re-injured it a few weeks later at the US Junior National Championships. By the time she made it to the World Juniors in Jamaica, she had lost her edge and ended up in fifth place. News articles said Felix had choked, but she kept her head up. "That was an extremely hard time," she said. "I had to depend on God."

Professional

Allyson Felix in Osaka 2007
At just 18, Felix finished as silver medalist in the 200 meters at the 2004 Summer Olympics, behind Veronica Campbell of Jamaicamarker; in so doing, she set a World Junior record over 200 meters with her time of 22.18. Felix is coached by Bobby Kersee - husband & coach of Olympic champion and world record holding heptathlete, Jackie Joyner-Kersee.

Felix became the youngest ever gold medalist sprinter in the 200 meters at the World Championships in Helsinkimarker 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." In 2007, 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 continues to lift and press heavy weights as part of her training routine. Currently Felix can leg press 700lbs despite her size.

Felix fully qualified for the 2008 Olympic Games during the 2008 Olympic trials in the 200 metres, but just missed qualifying for the 100 meter. However, at the 2008 Summer Olypmics 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 to clinch the gold medal. Felix also ran the 400 meters, but only as a member of the U.S. women's relay team in that event. 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 x 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-metre World Championships gold medal, an unprecedented accomplishment in women's sprinting. Felix clocked 22.02sec to comfortably beat Jamaica's Olympic 200m 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 would rather have the one gold medal that is missing during the four years it has taken her to win three consecutive 200-meter titles at the biennial world championships. "I would love to trade my three world championships for your gold," Felix said to Veronica Campbell-Brown of Jamaica at the medalists' news conference. That is the 2008 Olympic gold medal in the 200, a race Felix, from Valencia, 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."

Achievements

Competition record

Felix winning the second semifinal of the 200 m in Beijing
Felix celebrating her victory in Osaka
Year Competition Venue Result Event
2004 US Olympic Track and Field Trials Sacramentomarker, Californiamarker 1st 200 m
2004 Olympic Games Athensmarker, Greecemarker 2nd 200 m
2005 USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships Carsonmarker, Californiamarker 1st 200 m
World Championships in Athletics Helsinkimarker, Finlandmarker 1st 200 m
2006 World Athletics Final Stuttgartmarker, Germanymarker 1st 200 m
3rd 100 m
2007 USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships Indianapolismarker, Indianamarker 1st 200 m
World Championships in Athletics Osaka, Japanmarker 1st 200 m
1st 4x100 m relay
1st 4x400 m relay
2008 2008 Olympic Games Beijing, Chinamarker 2nd 200 m
1st 4x400 m relay
2009 World Championships in Athletics Berlinmarker, Germanymarker 1st 200 m
1st 4x400 m relay


Personal bests

Event Time (seconds) Venue Date
60 meters 7.32 Roxbury, Bostonmarker, Massachusettsmarker, United States February 28, 2004
100 meters 10.93 Dohamarker, Qatar May 9, 2008
200 meters 21.81 Osaka, Japan August 31, 2007
300 meters 36.33 Fayetteville, Arkansasmarker, United States February 9, 2007
400 meters 49.70 Stockholmmarker, Sweden August 7, 2007
  • All information from IAAF profile.


References

  1. US sports stars try to dim doping fears with "Project Believe". Agence France Press (2008-04-16). Retrieved on 2009-08-09.
  2. USA Track & Field bio > Allyson Felix
  3. Spikes, the new heroes of athletics | Athletes > Heroes > Allyson Felix
  4. USC OLYMPIANS: 1904-2004, USC Trojans Athletic Department, Accessed August 26, 2008.
  5. Sprinter Allyson Felix graduates to the big time
  6. The World's Fastest Teenager - Today's Christian
  7. 2007 USOC Awards Announced
  8. Wenig, Jörg (2009-08-08). US quartet blasts 41.58 in the 4x100 as Wlodarczyk improves to 77.20m in Cottbus. IAAF. Retrieved on 2009-08-09.


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