By Signal Staff
The U.S. women’s 4×400-meter relay team ran away with its heat race on Friday, setting the stage for a final run, in which Santa Clarita’s Allyson Felix could add to her record-setting Olympics career.
Felix, 35, did not run in the 4×400 heat race on Friday, but is expected to compete in the final on Saturday as Team USA seeks to repeat as Olympic gold champion in the event. The U.S. women dusted the field in their heat race Friday, crossing the finish line in 3:20.86, more than a second ahead of Jamaica and Britain. The final in the 4×400 is scheduled Saturday.
Before the 4×400 final, Felix is set to compete Friday in the individual 400-meter final, scheduled Friday evening in Tokyo, about 5:35 a.m. Pacific time.
Competing in her fifth Olympics and already tied with Jamaica’s Merlene Ottey as the most decorated woman in Olympic track and field history with nine medals, Felix is attempting to become the most decorated track and field Olympian in U.S. history, male or female. She trails only Carl Lewis, who won a total of 10 Olympic medals in his storied career.
Felix grew up in Santa Clarita and attended L.A. Baptist High School in North Hills. The Tokyo Olympics are her first since giving birth to her daughter, Camryn, in 2018, and she has used her platform as an athlete to advocate for working mothers. She has announced she will retire from Olympic competition after the Tokyo Games.
On the eve of her potentially record-setting run in the 400-meter final, Felix was featured in a one-on-one interview on “NBC Nightly News” with Lester Holt, in which she discussed her path back to her fifth Olympics, after giving birth to her daughter, her subsequent return to training and her battle with her sponsor, Nike, which declined to provide protection to her sponsorship deal if her performance on the track were to suffer after giving birth.
Her experience led her become an advocate for working mothers and to testify before Congress, advocating on behalf of issues including maternal mortality among Black women. After she spoke out, Nike announced expanded protections for its female athletes under contract. She told Holt that she hopes her final Olympics run — and what led up to it — will serve as an example for her daughter.
“I hope that she sees that, you know, Mom really believes in what she does and when things aren’t right, you know, she stands up. And I hope that my daughter sees that,” Felix told Holt. “I hope that she knows her value, always, and that she’s confident, and whatever she chooses to do, you know, whether it has something to with sports or something different altogether, I hope she pursues it with everything she has and is passionate about it and always wants to do it the right way.”