Allyson Felix is an American track and field sprinter who is a six-time Olympic gold medalist. She has nine medals, one of the most decorated female Olympians in track and field history. A runner who specializes in the 100 m, 200 m, and 400 m, she ran the fastest sprint ever recorded by an American woman in the four × 400 m relay at the 2015 World Championships. Interested in sports from a young age, she displayed great speed on the track and strength in the gym while still in high school.
Allyson Michelle Felix was born on November 18, 1985, in California. Her father, Paul, is an ordained minister and professor of New Testament at The Master’s Seminary in Santa Clarita Valley, California. Her mother, Marlean, is an elementary school teacher at Balboa Magnet Elementary. Allyson has one older brother, Wes Felix, a sprinter who now acts as her manager. She is a devout Christian.
She attended Los Angeles Baptist High School in North Hills, where she realized her athletic abilities. With the guidance of her coach Samson Young, she deadlifted at least 270 pounds while still a school student. She also displayed exceptional knowledge in track and field.
In 2003, she was named the national girls’ “High School Athlete of the Year” by ‘Track and Field News.’ Upon graduating from high school, she decided to forego college eligibility and signed a professional contract with Adidas, which paid her college tuition at the University of Southern California. She made her Olympics debut as an 18-year-old in the 2004 Summer Games in Athens, where she earned a silver medal in the 200-meter race. She enjoyed tremendous success at the 2012 Olympic Games in London with three golds. Her accomplishments continued over the following years, and she proceeded to win two more gold medals at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio.
She’s been doing this for a long time.
Felix is what most people would probably consider a senior member of Team USA’s Track and Field squad. She’s 35 years old and started her Olympic career at the 2004 Games in Athens. Tokyo marked her fifth straight Olympics, and she’s looking to make a little history there (but more on that later). She already has six gold medals and three silver medals from her previous Games, and she’s the only female track and field athlete ever to win six Olympic golds, per Team USA.
She already made history at the World Championships.
Just 10 months after giving birth to her daughter, Camryn, Felix won her 12th and 13th gold medals at the 2019 World Championships in Doha. That eclipsed Usain Bolt’s previous record of 11, making her the most decorated athlete, man or woman, in World Championship history. She won gold in both the 4×400-meter relay and the 4×400-meter mixed relay, an outstanding feat.
She supports a great cause.
Felix setting records at Doha just 10 months after giving birth is an incredible story. But it’s also terrifying when you realize what was at stake. Felix had a very traumatic experience giving birth. She and her daughter’s lives were at risk because of the pregnancy. She was diagnosed with severe preeclampsia and had to undergo an emergency C-section at 32 weeks pregnant.
Thankfully, Camryn was born safely, and Felix made it through the pregnancy alright. But it could’ve ended differently. Felix knows that. And she knows that other mothers who may be going through the same thing without the same resources for help are others there.
She partnered with an organization called “Better Starts for All,” which is dedicated to providing and increasing medical care for pregnant women and future mothers.
She has her own sneaker company.
Felix was having problems with Nike during her pregnancy scare. While she was going through everything she was going through, the company would not guarantee her that they wouldn’t dock her pay if she missed time away from the track.
So she left the company after it was clear they did not have her best interest at heart. Shortly after, she joined Athleta, a brand dedicated to empowering women. A few years later, she started her own independent sneaker company called Saysh. She makes both performance and lifestyle shoes explicitly geared toward women. It’s impressive stuff.
She’s the most decorated U.S. Olympic track and field athlete ever.
11 is the magic number. After adding gold and bronze medals to her collection during the Tokyo Games, Allyson is now officially the most decorated American track-and-field athlete ever in Olympic history. She’s won 11 medals in five Olympic appearances.
She originally wanted to do gymnastics.
Allyson Felix, Olympic Gymnast? Believe it or not, gymnastics was Allyson’s first love. She always wanted to be a gymnast growing up and even tried to convince her parents to buy a balance beam for their yard, but it didn’t happen.
Baking is her secret talent.
Her baking is a big deal. Baking is Allyson’s hidden talent and something she loves doing. Some of her most popular desserts include cinnamon rolls, pound cake, and German chocolate cake.
Her nickname is “Shug.”
Allyson who? According to Allyson’s brother, Wes, no one calls Allyson “Allyson.” At home, everyone calls her “Shug” (pronounced like sugar without the “ar”), a nickname that initially came from her uncle, who would say she’s “sweet as sugar.”
If there’s anyone who knows their way around the Olympic Games, it’s Allyson Felix. Since she was 18 years old, she’s been competing professionally, and Rio was her fourth time repping the USA at the games. While a freak ankle injury jeopardized her spot in 2016, she qualified for the 400-meter and 4x400-meter events. She missed qualifying for the 200-meter, her favorite event, by just 0.01 seconds. But no way will slow down this powerhouse athlete. After all, she’s won three gold medals in a single Olympics — and she was the first athlete to do it since 1988.
According to Felix, faith leads her life and is why she runs. She says she’s been blessed with this gift, and that’s something that helps her see the bigger picture.