World Athletics Championships: bronze farewell for icon Allyson Felix

World Athletics Championships: bronze farewell for icon Allyson Felix

The 36-year-old American sprinter won bronze in the 4x400m on Friday at the Eugene Worlds, her 19th (and last) world medal.

19th world medal for the legendary US sprinter on Friday. BRIAN SNYDER/REUTERS

Legend of world athletics who has become a spokesperson for sportswomen, Allyson Felix bid farewell to the track by enriching her exceptional record with a record 19th world medal in Eugene (Oregon) on Friday, on her American lands. At 36 and after a twenty-year career, Felix has thirteen gold medals among his 19 world awards, plus eleven Olympic medals, including seven titles, from Athens in 2004 to Tokyo last summer. The Californian sprinter won the last, in bronze, with the American mixed 4×400 relay, beaten by the Dominican Republic and the Netherlands (3:09.90) in the final on Friday.

For her last lap, the American, launched in the lead in the position of second torchbearer, was carried by an enthusiastic ovation from the public at Hayward Field, which was not enough to allow her to pass the baton in front. The stadium was already largely empty when she received her medal a few minutes later. “It was very special to be able to race in front of the American public for my last race. My daughter was in the stands. It’s an evening that I will keep in my heart, “appreciated Felix.

A sprint icon whose incomparable, ample and fluid stride has made her reputation, the Californian sprinter took on another dimension in the last part of her career, after giving birth to her daughter Camryn at the end of 2018: when Nike, her equipment supplier of For a long time, had the intention of reducing her emoluments by 70%, she spoke publicly to denounce the policy of the giant of the world sports industry towards pregnant sportswomen.

Big class

“When we have children, we risk pay cuts from our sponsors during and after the pregnancy. This is one of the examples that prove that the sports industry is still run by and for men, ”she wrote at the time in a New York Times column. The comma brand ended up folding, and swore that no pregnant professional sportswoman would be financially penalized anymore.

This episode “helped me to understand what was important and to realize that I could no longer remain silent. I used to be so focused on my performance that it was scary for me to talk about other issues,” she told the Washington Post in 2019. “She has done so much for the sport, and especially for the women, highlighting important issues. She does things the right way, it’s high class, the definition of integrity, “said her compatriot Ryan Crouser, double Olympic champion and world record holder in the shot put.

“Whoever opposes such a venture – I’m not sure people appreciate the importance of Nike’s influence in the United States – that a woman, a black woman, stands up against and speak up for what they think is right, it’s something the younger generation should consider,” added American sprinter Noah Lyles, 2019 world champion and 2021 Olympic bronze medalist in the 200m.

Kerley impresses

Evidence of his influence? Even the Google search engine paid tribute to her on Friday with a short animation representing her running and climbing on a podium, her daughter in her arms, around the qualifiers “Olympian, mother, activist”. “I hope to be remembered as a fierce competitor, but most importantly, most importantly to me, as someone who tried to leave the sport better than I found it, to support the women athletes, and women in general, and to fight for more equality”, said Felix, who worked to set up a childcare system at certain competitions, on the eve of his final lap.

Another American, Fred Kerley, impressed him in the 100m series: he dominated them in 9”79, only three hundredths from his best world performance of the season. Landed in Eugene just over three hours before racing after his visa was validated in extremis, the Kenyan Ferdinand Omanyala passed the cut somehow in 10”10. Injured in a thigh and deprived of the slightest 100m at international level in 2022, the reigning Olympic champion, the Italian Marcell Jacobs, qualified for the semi-finals in 10”04, his best time of the season.

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