EUGENE, Ore. – Allyson Felix was enjoying life in retirement eating hot wings and sipping a root beer float in Los Angeles when the phone rang.
She was used in Oregon for the heats of the 4×400 women’s relay. Could she return to Worlds? She was on her way.
The most successful sprinter in US history jumped on a plane and was out on track for the “last” time on Saturday night to help the Americans advance to the finals.
And she’s retiring. She said she will watch Sunday’s women’s 4×400 final from the seats.
That’s the plan – for now. She had the fastest one-lap split of her teammates as USA set the fastest qualifying time of 3min 23.38s.
“As far as I know,” Felix, 36, said of whether this is really the end. “But you know, what do I know?”
Last Friday, she experienced an emotional farewell after helping the 4×400 mixed relay team to a bronze medal. It should be.
She returned to Los Angeles for the ESPY Awards and was in for some hot wings when she was called onto the track for an encore.
Talitha Diggs ran the first leg for USA before handing over to Felix. She sped across the track and passed the baton to Kaylin Whitney, the sprinter who Felix idolized. Jaide Stepter Baynes brought it home.
“It literally comes full circle,” Whitney said of passing the baton to Felix. “Being able to walk alongside her and these other great ladies is always a privilege. I couldn’t be happier.”
Shortly after her run, Felix crouched down by the scoreboard and then sat on the grass to watch. When it was over, she hugged her teammates.
“I was on my way[to retirement],” said Felix, dangling her Saysh spikes — a shoe company she founded — from her shoulder. “I had no intention of being back for the rest of the meeting. But things happen. I felt good . It really prepared the team to go for the title.”
The American contingent in the final numbers are world 400-meter hurdles champion Sydney McLaughlin, fresh off her world-record performance on Friday, and Dalilah Muhammad, who won bronze in the race. They were part of the winning Tokyo Games 4×400 team. So does Felix and Athing Mu. But Mu has the final of the 800 on the same day.
Is there a chance Felix will leave the seats to walk again?
“I was asked to run in the preliminary round,” said Felix.
Should the group bring home a medal – the team are huge favorites – it would be Felix’s 20th medal at World Championships and would extend a record she already held. She also has 11 Olympic medals.
“It was just about being a team player and enabling them to do their best (Sunday),” said Felix.
Their immediate plans revolve around one thing – more hot wings.
“I only have a few of these,” Felix said. “I’ll finish them now.”
https://www.espn.com/olympics/story/_/id/34287011/called-retirement-allyson-felix-helps-united-states-4×400-women-relay-final-world-championships Called out of retirement, Allyson Felix helps 4×400 women’s relay into final at world championships