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Allyson Felix, the most decorated track athlete of all time, announced on Wednesday she will retire after the 2022 season.
Over the course of five Olympic Games, Felix has earned 11 medals — including seven gold medals — and she holds the record for the most gold medals ever won in the track and field world championships with another 13 awards. Yet let her tell it, it’s bigger than medals now.
“This season isn’t about the time on the clock, it’s simply about joy,” Felix said in an Instagram post detailing her plans. She continued, “If you see me on the track this year I hope to share a moment, a memory, and my appreciation with you.”
Allyson Felix is Black History.
At age 35, Felix won a bronze medal in the 400 meters last summer in Tokyo, then followed it up with a gold medal in the 4×400 relay. Those were her 10th and 11th Olympic medals, which helped her pass track phenom Carl Lewis in the U.S. record book. Now at 36, she’s ready to let the next generation take the baton.
A career defined by leading the pack on and off the track.
Before getting pregnant in 2018, Felix had legitimate concerns that simply being a mother would put her career at risk, and she was vocal about her former sponsor, Nike, in a 2019 New York Times op-ed piece.
Felix revealed that Nike said it would pay her 70% less than she earned before she became a mom, despite her abundance of accomplishments, and also that the company refused to guarantee she wouldn’t be punished if she didn’t perform up to her previous levels in the months around childbirth. Felix has since left Nike.
Double standards based on gender and race in track & field expose the ugly side of the Olympic Committee and Nike, however, Felix was determined not to be slowed down by any woman, or man throughout her career.
Be the change you want to see.
Determined to be the catalyst for change for not only women en masse but specifically her daughter, Felix explained, “I didn’t want her to have these same battles, you know, twenty years down the line, that I was facing and that so many of my colleagues have faced, so many women before me.
In her Instagram post, she said, “This season I’m running for women. I’m running for a better future for my daughter.”
Pending qualification, Felix plans to compete at the USA Track and Field Outdoor Championships on June 23-26 and also in the world outdoor championships, which will take place in Eugene, Ore., from July 15-24.