Allyson Felix is a twelve-time Gold Medalist at the IAAF World Athletics Championships. She grew up in Los Angeles, California with her father, Paul, an ordained minister who was an excellent sprinter as a teen, and her schoolteacher mother, Marlean. Felix followed her older brother, Wes, into the sport, although she did not try out for the track team until her ninth grade year at Los Angeles Baptist High School in North Hills.
At her first practice, Coach Jonathon Patton asked her to run 40-meters and thought he must have mis-measured the distance when he saw Allyson’s time. He re-measured and asked her to run again, and she did, but with the same results. Just ten weeks after that tryout, Felix was racing at the California State Finals.
Felix went on to accomplish impressive feats over her high school career. She became the first sophomore to win the California 100-meter state title since Marion Jones did it in 1990. Felix also went on to break Marion Jones’ high-school 200-meter record by running 22.51 seconds at the Mt. San Antonio College Relays in April of 2003. Just weeks later, Felix turned in an even more impressive performance when she competed in the Banamex Grand Prix in Mexico City’s Olympic Stadium and ran a blazing 22.11 second 200-meter race, which was a new world record in the under-20 category.
Felix emerged as the new American Female sprinter to watch going into the 2004 Athens Olympic Games and she did not disappoint, bringing her country home a silver medal in the 200-meter race, an experience that Felix considers one of her greatest memories. She has gone on, under the tutelage of Coach Bob Kersee, to become an Olympic Champion, a six-time world champion, and the first woman to win three consecutive 200-meter titles at the IAAF World Championships. At the 2012 Olympics in London, she had one of the best performances ever by an American woman and won three gold medals. Besides her accomplishments on track, Felix still made time to graduate with an elementary education degree from USC, be an ambassador for Children’s Miracle Network, and teach Sunday School at her church.
In 2019, Felix won gold at the track and field World Championships in Doha, Qatar, while racing in a mixed-gender 4×400 meter relay. This latest victory means Felix now has 12 gold medals at the World Championships — which breaks a tie she held with fellow Olympic medalist Usain Bolt, considered the fastest man in history, who earned 11 gold medal wins at the championships before his retirement.
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