TOKYO - U.S. track star Allyson Felix made history on Friday in the 400-meter final, becoming the most decorated female Olympian in track and field and tying for the most U.S. track medals awarded.
Felix, 35, earned her record 10th Olympic track medal with a bronze in the 400 meters, surpassing Jamaican runner Merlene Ottey’s record and tying Carl Lewis — who also won 10 medals and was alone as the most decorated U.S. athlete in track.
"Congratulations @allysonfelix. 35 never looked so good. What an amazing career and inspiration. Now on to the relay," Lewis wrote on Twitter.
She started in the outside lane and outraced Stephanie Ann McPherson of Jamaica to take third place by .15 seconds. Shaunae Miller-Uibo blew away the field, winning in 48.36 seconds to defend her Olympic title from Rio de Janeiro.
Felix, who made her debut as an 18-year-old representing the U.S. at the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, has competed in five Games. She into the Tokyo Games having already won six gold and three silver medals.
She could go for No. 11 if the U.S. puts her in the 4x400 relay final, which is set for Saturday night.
USA's Allyson Felix in the Women's 400m Semifinal at the Olympic Stadium on the twelfth day of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games in Japan on Aug. 4, 2021. (Photo by Martin Rickett/PA Images via Getty Images)
The road to Tokyo for Felix has been filled with more twists and turns than she might’ve imagined two decades ago when she burst onto the scene as America’s fresh-faced sprint star.
This included the difficult birth of her now-2-year-old daughter, Camryn, who spent time in the neonatal intensive-care unit after she was born.
She also helped spearhead a conversation about the way women are treated in track and sports in general. She severed ties with Nike, which wrote in pay reductions to women's contracts if they became pregnant.
Felix won the race wearing a shoe she designed for a company she created.
The COVID-19 pandemic put an even tougher spin on things, costing Felix a year at a time in her career when every day counts. To make the most of the time, Felix found herself waiting outside her house for coach Bobby Kersee to measure out distances on the street so she could train while tracks and gyms were closed.
"My first year back was a struggle, and I just kept getting hit with thing after thing," Felix said. "There was the sponsorship battle, and I was just ‘Man, I hope something comes together for me.’ I just kept fighting. I wanted to give it one more shot."
This story was reported from Cincinnati. The Associated Press contributed.