Allyson Felix is one of the most decorated female Olympians in track and field history with nine medals, including six gold and three silver. She will compete Monday in the women’s 400m at the Tokyo Olympics.
Felix, 35, told USA Today Sports that it’s been an incredible experience, however, this will be her last Olympics.
In an Instagram post, Felix wrote that she is thankful for the opportunities granted by God.
“It might sound cliché, but getting to that starting line is an incredible victory for me. I’ve experienced the hardest years of my life in this journey and by God’s grace I’m here. With a heart full of gratitude I’m taking space to remember all it took to get here.”
Felix, a devout Christian, told the Los Angeles Times in 2016 that her Christian faith is the reason she runs.
“Faith leads my life,” she said. “I definitely feel like I’ve been blessed with this gift, and so that’s something that helps me to see the bigger picture. It’s so easy to get caught up in winning everything and just the kind of the grind of what professional sports is, but it definitely helps me to kind of pull back and see that there’s a greater purpose.”
She started running her freshmen year of high school, which is considered a late start. Even so, Felix has seen unprecedented success.
“I never expected to be a professional athlete,” Felix told Fellowship of Christian Athletes. “I had to really trust Him and His plan for my life. We always have our own idea of how our life is going to go, but we really have to follow the Lord’s will.”
The star runner says she learned how to persevere from her parents. Her father is a pastor and her mother is an elementary school teacher.
“Our family was very involved in our church. I am so blessed to have my family and the upbringing that I did. It means so much to me to have two very godly parents who both have so much wisdom. They are amazing role models that I have had the privilege to watch as I grew up,” Felix explained.
Felix is married to Kenneth Ferguson, who was also a sprinter and hurdler, and she has a daughter named Camryn.