Contemporary Black History - Allyson Felix
November 18, 1985 – Present
I have learned that track doesn't define me. My faith defines me. I'm running because I have been blessed with a gift. ~ Allyson Felix
Born and raised in California, Allyson Michelle Felix is a track and field sprint athlete, competing in the 100 meters, 200 meters and 400 meters distances. She is a world champion at the 200 and 400 meters . At the 200 meters distance she has earned two Olympic silver medals (2004 and 2008) and one gold (2012). Additionally she holds three Olympic gold medals as a member of United States’ women’s relay teams. Two of these came in the 4 x 400 meters relay (2008 and 2012) and the third as part of the world record breaking 2012 4 x 100 meters relay team.
The daughter of Paul, an ordained minister and Marlean, an elementary school teacher, Allyson Felix discovered her athletic talents after she tried out for track in the ninth grade. She quickly went on to become a five-time winner in the 200 meters at the California State meet. In 2003 she was named the national girls' "High School Athlete of the Year" by Track and Field News. She graduated in 2003, making headlines by forgoing college eligibility to sign a professional contract with Adidas. Adidas paid her an undisclosed sum and paid her college tuition at the University of Southern California. She has since graduated with a degree in elementary education. Her brother Wes, also an accomplished sprinter, acts as her agent.
Felix's 200 meters best of 21.69 seconds from 2012 ranks her sixth on the all-time list. In 2013, she broke the world best for the 150 meters distance, running 16.36 seconds. In the 4 x 400 meters relay at the 2015 World Championships she ran the fastest split ever recorded by an American woman, and the third fastest split ever.
A devout Christian, Felix attributes her accomplishments to God. "For me,” she asserts, “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.” Allyson Felix continues to compete and has won the most World Championship gold medals, and most World Championship medals total, out of any American.