Allyson Felix

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Allyson Michelle Felix
Allyson Felix in 2015
Personal information
Nationality  United States
Born (1985-11-18) November 18, 1985 (age 30)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Residence Santa Clarita, California, U.S.
Height 5 ft 6 in (1.68 m)
Weight 121 lb (55 kg)
Sport Track & Field
Event(s) Sprint
Achievements and titles
Personal best(s)
  • 100 m: 10.89 s (London 2012)
  • 150 m: 16.36 WB (Manchester 2013)
  • 200 m: 21.69 s (Eugene 2012)
  • 400 m: 49.26 s (Beijing 2015)

Allyson Michelle Felix (born November 18, 1985[1]) is an American track and field sprint athlete 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). In 2015, she became World champion at 400 meters. She has won three additional Olympic gold medals as a member of the United States' women's relay teams; two at 4 x 400 meters (2008–12) and one as part of the 2012 world-record 4 x 100 meters team.

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 x 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.[2] She is coached by Bobby Kersee.

Early life[edit]

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,[3] and Marlean who is an elementary school teacher at Balboa Magnet Elementary.[1] Her older brother Wes Felix is also a sprinter. Also running the 200 m, he was the USA Junior Champion in 2002[4] and the Pac-10 champion in 2003 and 2004 while running for USC. Wes now acts as the agent for his sister.[5] 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." [6]

High school[edit]

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.[1] 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.[7] 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 200m at the CIF California State Meet. In the coming seasons, she became a five-time winner at the meet.[8][9] In 2003 she was named the national girls' "High School Athlete of the Year" by Track and Field News.[10] As a senior, Felix finished second in the 200m 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[1]).[11]

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.[12] She has since graduated with a degree in elementary education.[13]


Early career[edit]

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.[1]

Felix became the youngest-ever 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.[1][14]


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,[15] to clinch the gold medal. Felix also ran the 4x400 meters relay as a member of the U.S. women's team. The team finished first, giving Felix her first Olympic gold medal.

Felix during the 200 m final at the 2009 World Championships

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.[16] In 2009 aged just 23, Felix proceeded to claim her third 200-meter World Championships gold medal, an unprecedented accomplishment in women's sprinting.[17] 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 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 200m, 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 200m, which was 22.12. She also ran a 10.89 in the second 100m 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 4x100m and 4x400m. Team USA won both events and attained world-leading times in both finals as Felix added two World Championship gold medals to her collection.

Felix running second leg in 4x400 relay olympic games, London 2012


In 2012, Felix returned to the Olympic Trials, the schedule of events virtually requiring she choose between attempting to qualify in the 100m or 400m as her secondary event behind the 200m. She chose the 100m and advanced to the final, the top 3 finishers were to go on to the 2012 Summer Olympics as part of the 100m team. In the final, she ran 11.01, good enough for 3rd,[18] 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 100m spot to Felix.[19]

In the 200m 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 100m, 200m, 4x100m relay, and 4x400m relay, placing 5th in the 100m 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 100m, she placed 5th, running a personal best time of 10.89 seconds. In the 200m 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 100m Olympic Gold medallist, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, who finished second. American compatriot Carmelita Jeter took the bronze.

Felix after the 4x400 relay in London

Felix took to the track again on August 10, 2012 as part of the women's 4x100m 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 x 400m (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.[20]

Following the Olympics, Felix was a guest on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno on August 17, 2012.[21] Felix also visited the set of ABC show Scandal, where she took photos with the cast and her Olympic medals.[22] She had revealed she spent some of the time in her London hotel room watching Scandal when an NBC broadcaster talked to her after her 200m qualifier race on August 7.[23]

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.[24]


After a nine-month layoff because of a hamstring injury, Felix resumed competition in the 400m 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 200m 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 200m 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 200m. 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.[25] 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.[26] 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 200m and the 400m; additionally, she has now won the most World gold medals, and most World medals total, out of any American.[27] Later on, she won silver medals in both the 4x100m relay and 4x400m 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.[28]


Felix celebrating her victory in Osaka

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.[29][30] 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.

Personal bests[edit]

Event Time (seconds) Venue Date
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[31]

National titles[edit]

International competitions[edit]

Year Competition Venue Position Event Notes
Representing  United States
2001 World Youth Championships Debrecen, Hungary 1st 100 m 11.57
1st Medley relay 2:03.83
2002 World Junior Championships Kingston, Jamaica 5th 200m 23.48 (wind: -0.2 m/s)
2nd (h)[32] 4×100m relay 43.92
2003 Pan American Games Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic 3rd 200 m 22.93
1st 4x100 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
3rd 100 m 11.07
2007 World Championships Osaka, Japan 1st 200 m 21.81
1st 4x100 m relay 41.98
1st 4x400 m relay 3:18.55
2008 Olympic Games Beijing, China 2nd 200 m 21.93
1st 4x400 m relay 3:18.54
2009 World Championships Berlin, Germany 1st 200 m 22.02
1st 4x400 m relay 3:17.83
2010 World Indoor Championships Doha, Qatar 1st 4x400 m relay 3:27.34
2011 World Championships Daegu, South Korea 3rd 200 m 22.42
2nd 400 m 49.59
1st 4x100 m 41.56
1st 4x400 m 3:18.09
2012 Olympic Games London, United Kingdom 5th 100 m 10.89
1st 200 m 21.88
1st 4x100 m relay 40.82 (WR)
1st 4x400 m relay 3:16.88
2013 World Championships Moscow, Russia DNF 200 m DNF
2015 World Relay Championships Nassau, Bahamas 2nd 4x100 m relay 42.32
World Championships Beijing, China 1st 400 m 49.26
2nd 4x100 m relay 41.68
2nd 4x400 m relay 3:19.44

Golden League wins[edit]

  • 2008 - Rome (400 m), Zurich (200 m)

Diamond League wins[edit]

  • 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[edit]

  • 2010 Overall 200 m Diamond Race Title[33]
  • 2010 Overall 400 m Diamond Race Title[33]
  • 2014 Overall 200 m Diamond Race Title[34]
  • 2015 Overall 200 m Diamond Race Title

Sports Diplomacy[edit]

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.[35]


  1. ^ a b c d e f MSN (2008). "Athletes > Allyson Felix > Bio". NBC Beijing Olympics 2008. Retrieved 2008-08-27. [dead link]
  2. ^ US sports stars try to dim doping fears with "Project Believe". Agence France Press (2008-04-16). Retrieved on 2009-08-09.
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^ WRAP-UP: 'Preacher's kid' Felix wins gold
  7. ^ Barry Ross. "The Holy Grail in Speed Training". Dragondoor. 
  8. ^ "California State Meet Results - 1915 to present". Hank Lawson. Retrieved 2012-12-25. 
  9. ^ USA Track & Field bio > Allyson Felix
  10. ^ Track and Field News High School AOY
  11. ^ Spikes, the new heroes of athletics | Athletes > Heroes > Allyson Felix
  12. ^ USC OLYMPIANS: 1904–2004, USC Trojans Athletic Department, accessed August 26, 2008.
  13. ^ Sprinter Allyson Felix graduates to the big time
  14. ^ 2007 USOC Awards Announced
  15. ^
  16. ^ 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.
  17. ^ USA Track & Field (2009). "Felix, Merritt win gold at Berlin World Championships". USA Track & Field. Retrieved 2009-08-21. 
  18. ^
  19. ^ Layden, Tim. "Jeneba Tarmoh out of 100-meter runoff with Allyson Felix". Retrieved 2 July 2012. 
  20. ^
  21. ^
  22. ^ Barrett, Annie (August 17, 2012). "'Scandal': Allyson Felix attempts to 'run' the show". Entertainment Weekly. 
  23. ^ Rome, Emily (August 9, 2012). "Olympic sprinter Allyson Felix gets cheered on by 'Scandal' cast via Twitter". Entertainment Weekly. 
  24. ^ "Felix Injured as Fraser-Pryce Wins 200 at Worlds", ABC News. August 16, 2013
  25. ^
  26. ^
  27. ^
  28. ^
  29. ^
  30. ^
  31. ^
  32. ^ Competed only in the heat.
  33. ^ a b
  34. ^
  35. ^ "U.S. Consulate General News & Activities | Rio De Janeiro, Brazil - Consulate General of the United States". Retrieved 2016-05-01. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
No Award Given
Women's Track & Field ESPY Award
Succeeded by
No Award Given
Preceded by
Sally Pearson
IAAF World Athlete of the Year
Succeeded by
Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce
Preceded by
Debbie Ferguson
Veronica Campbell
Sherone Simpson
Women's 200 m Best Year Performance
Succeeded by
Veronica Campbell
Sherone Simpson
Veronica Campbell