Allyson Felix – the golden girl acknowledges the true champion

Golden girl Allyson Felix is now officially the most decorated athlete in the history of the World Championships. At the 2017 event held in London, she added two golds and a bronze medal to her already impressive tally.

Only a year before, Allyson won two golds and a silver on the track at the 2016 Rio Olympics to add to her huge trophy list. She is a true champion with a great attitude.

But Allyson is more than an athlete, and she knows that there is more to life than athletics. She is also a keen Christian who acknowledges that Jesus Christ is the true champion. 

Allyson was born in California, USA. Her father is an ordained minister and the professor of New Testament Studies at Master’s Seminary in California. Now acting as her agent, her brother Wes is also an international athlete and became the USA Junior Champion at 200 metres in 2002.

Although keen on sports at school, Allyson didn’t start sprinting until she was fourteen. Just ten weeks ater her first try out on the school track she finished ninth in the 200 metres at the CIF California State Meeting. She later won the event five times. In 2003 she was voted ‘High School Athlete of the Year’ by Track and Field News. Also that year she finished second in the US Indoor Track & Field Championships, and a few months later ran 200 metres in a time of 22.11 seconds – the fastest ever for a high school student.

At just 18 years of age, Allyson finished second in the 2004 Olympic Games 200 metres, setting a World Junior Record of 22.11 seconds. The next year she became the youngest ever 200 metres Gold medallist at the World Championships in Helsinki. In 2007 she became only the second female athlete in history to win three gold medals at the IAAF World Championships in Athens. In 2009 aged just 23, Allyson won her third 200 meter World Championships gold medal, the first woman in history to do so. 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.” 

However, despite a hoard of medals including a gold in the 2008 Olympic 4 x 400 relay, Allyson still hankered after an elusive Olympic gold in her favourite event. That was to come in 2012 at the London Olympic Games. There she not only won the 200 metres final in a fast time of 21.88 seconds, but also won gold in the 4 x 400 relay and a third gold plus the world record in the 4 x 100 relay! She finally got the hat-trick!

Allyson 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.” She described the strength God gives her to overcome the disappointment all athletes face when the inevitable injuries come. “It is with injuries my faith really plays a part because I know I’m able to look at the bigger picture and see that God has a plan for my life and that this is also part of it. I can’t imagine my life without Jesus. I can’t imagine just waking up and going through life without Him. He is my life and that’s what I live for.”

In 2013 Allyson suffered a painful hamstring injury which kept her out of competition for nine months, but she came back in 2014 with her usual smile and positive attitude. In 2015 Allyson returned to top form winning the World Championships 400m individual title (gold medal) for the first time, running her fastest ever personal 400 metres solo in a time of 49.26, and also running the second fastest leg ever in the 4×400 metres relay in a time of 47.72. This made her the second fastest 4×400 metres relay runner in world history and the fastest ever American woman to run a 400m relay leg.

2016 also became a season plagued by injury problems with a serious ankle injury early in the year. But Allyson overcame in a dramatic way to take gold medals in the 4×400 and 4×100 metre relays, together with a silver in the 400 metres individual race.

Awesome achievements indeed. But, still a woman who puts God first, Allyson continues to see the bigger picture. Athletics is not everything to her, Jesus Christ is. Allyson’s motto is this;

I have learned that track doesn’t define me. My faith defines me. I’m running because I have been blessed with a gift.

Her list of championship medals is nonetheless very impressive:

400m

2017 World Championships: Bronze

2016 Olympic Games: Silver

2015 World Championships: Gold

2011 World Championships: Silver

200m

2014 Diamond League, Oslo, Stockholm & Brussels: First

2013 Diamond League, London: First

2012 Olympic Games: Gold

2011 World Championships: Bronze

2009 World Championships: Gold

2008 Olympic Games: Silver

2007 World Championships: Gold

2006 World Athletics Finals: Gold

2005 World Championships: Gold

2004 Olympic Games: Silver

2003 Pan American Games: Bronze

100m

2006 World Championships: Bronze

2001 World Youth Championships: Gold

4 x 100m relay team

2017 World Championships: Gold

2016 Olympic Games: Gold

2015 World Championships: Silver

2012 Olympic Games: Gold

2011 World Championships: Gold

2007 World Championships: Gold

2003 Pan American Games: Gold

4 x 400m relay team

2017 World Championships: Gold

2016 Olympic Games: Gold

2015 World Championships: Silver

2015 World Relay Championships: Silver

2012 Olympic Games: Gold

2011 World Championships: Gold

2010 World Indoor Championships: Gold

2009 World Championships: Gold

2008 Olympic games: Gold

2007 World Championships: Gold

 

Story by Ralph Burden.

photo: Allyson Felix at 2012 London Olympics     photo attribution: Creative Commons Share-Alike License 2.0 Generic

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