Allyson Felix qualifies for fifth Olympic team – this time as a mother

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Allyson Felix had already secured a spot on her fifth Olympic team simply by qualifying into the women’s 400m final.

But being a member of the relay team was not enough for one of the sport’s most decorated athletes, so on Sunday night Felix finished in the top three to guarantee entry into the individual 400m event in Tokyo.

She turned up the speed in the final few meters of the race to pass Kendall Ellis and Wadeline Jonathas and finish second, in 50.02 seconds, to winner Quanera Hayes, who earned her Olympic debut in 49.78 seconds at 29 years old. Jonathas, 23, will join them in the individual event, with Ellis, Kaylin WhitneyLynna IrbyTaylor Manson and Shae Anderson being named to the event for the relay pool.

Felix was the only finalist with Olympic experience — and she has promised this will be her last.

“Man, it has been a fight to get here, and one thing I know how to do is fight, so I just did that all the way home,” Felix told NBC reporter Lewis Johnson.

A nine-time Olympic medalist, Felix is the most decorated woman in the sport’s history and with just one more medal this summer she would also tie Carl Lewis for the most decorated U.S. Olympic track and field athlete.

She now has the potential to race in the 400m, 4x400m relay and mixed 4x400m relay, which makes its Olympic debut this year. Felix is also planning to race the 200m later this week at Olympic Trials in hopes of creating options for herself; the Tokyo schedule only allows runners to compete either the 200m or the 400m.

TRACK AND FIELD TRIALS: Results | TV Schedule | Men’s Preview | Women’s Preview

Felix has been racing at U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials since she was 18 years old, but this year’s has proven to be her most fun.

“It’s probably the most I’ve taken everything in and savored it, and kind of just looked around, so in that respect, for sure,” she said following Saturday’s semifinal.

Also taking in their surroundings are her husband Kenneth Ferguson and 2-year-old daughter Cammy from the Hayward Field standings.

Felix committed to a fifth Olympic campaign in part to show her daughter that anything is possible.

“I just wanted to really show her, no matter what, that you do things with character, integrity and you don’t give up,” Felix said. “No matter the outcome, I wanted to stay consistent with that. Having her as motivation these past few years has just given me a whole new drive.”

VIDEO: Allyson Felix pens powerful letter to her daughter

She had an emergency C-section while only 32 weeks pregnant in November 2018; Cammy weighed 3 pounds, 7 ounces, and spent the first few weeks of her life in the NICU.

The birth was life-threatening to Felix herself, who has since returned to being one of the nation’s fastest women, and hopes to be fastest in the world in a month’s time.

“Today I thought about all the things,” Felix told Johnson while lying on the track post-race with Cammy. “I thought about us fighting in the NICU, fighting for my life, fighting to get on this track.”

Felix introduced Cammy to Hayes’ son Demetrius who was born in October 2018, as they celebrated on the track.

“I’m in disbelief,” Hayes said. “To know he was here cheering for me and to know exactly where they were sitting made me go even harder.”

Hayes was sure to thank Felix immediately after the race.

“I just told her that I was grateful for all that she’s done for mothers, and her paving the way for me as an athlete with all that she’s done for the sport,” Hayes said. “Then I was like, ‘Are you sure this is your last go-round? She said yes, and I was like, ‘No, no!’ I was just honestly telling her thank you because I’ve looked up to Allyson for a very long time, and to be there with her and to go through this with her as a mom, it makes it even more special to be there with her.”

Another reason Felix committed to returning to the Olympic stage was her finish in Rio. Felix took silver behind Bahama’s Shaunae Miller-Uibo, who dove for the gold at the line.

After winning 200m gold in London, after 200m silvers at the previous two Games, Felix is hungry for another individual gold.

She will join a list of just 15 U.S. women who have competed at five or more Olympic Games, only three of whom – Amy Acuff, Gail Devers and Willye White – did so in track and field.

She already owns more Olympic medals than all but one of those 15 athletes – 12-time medalist swimmer Dara Torres – and will look to add to that haul in Tokyo.

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Summer McIntosh, Canadian teen swimmer, caps record year with another historic time

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Summer McIntosh swam the fourth-fastest 400m individual medley in history on Friday, capping a year that already included world titles, Commonwealth Games titles and a victory over Katie Ledecky.

McIntosh, a 16-year-old Canadian whose mom swam at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, won the 400m IM in 4 minutes, 28.61 seconds at the U.S. Open in Greensboro, N.C. She prevailed by a Ledecky-like 13.24 seconds, breaking her own national record that was previously the fourth-fastest time in history.

“It’s still pretty early in the season, so I didn’t really know what to expect going into it,” she said on Peacock.

The only two women who ever went faster in the event known as the decathlon of swimming are Olympic gold medalists: Hungary’s Katinka Hosszu (world record 4:26.36 and 4:28.58) and China’s Ye Shiwen (4:28.43).

McIntosh has come a long way in a short time. Three years ago, she put all her eggs in the 1500m freestyle basket, thinking it was her best shot to merely qualify for the Tokyo Games in 2020. The one-year Olympic postponement was a blessing.

The rapidly improving McIntosh swam three individual events in Tokyo with a top finish of fourth in the 400m free, just missing becoming the youngest swimming medalist since 1996. She then told her coach she wanted to become an IMer.

At this past June’s world championships, McIntosh won two of the most grueling events — 400m IM and 200m butterfly — to become the youngest individual world champion since 2011. She also took silver to Ledecky in the 400m free, an event in which she later beat Ledecky in a short-course meet (25-meter pool rather than the 50-meter pool used for the Olympics).

A month after worlds, McIntosh swept the IMs at the Commonwealth Games, where she broke more world junior records and again took second in the 400m free (this time to Olympic champ and world record holder Ariarne Titmus of Australia).

McIntosh, who turned professional last year, now trains full-time in Sarasota, Florida, where she rents a house with her mom, Jill Horstead, who was ninth in the 200m fly at the 1984 Olympics (McIntosh, whose passions include the Kardashians and plants from Target, has seen video of her mom winning the B final at those Games). They’re a three-hour drive down Interstate 75 from Ledecky’s base in Gainesville.

Also Friday, Erin Gemmell celebrated her 18th birthday by nearly becoming the first American to beat Ledecky in a 200m freestyle in nearly nine years. Ledecky won by 42 hundredths of a second in 1:56.74 and said she had an off-day while also praising Gemmell, the daughter of her former coach.

NBC airs U.S. Open highlights on Dec. 10 at 4:30 p.m. ET.

U.S. OPEN SWIMMING: Full Results

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Kaillie Humphries begins trek to 2026 Winter Olympics with monobob World Cup win

Kaillie Humphries
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Kaillie Humphries is off to a strong start to a four-year cycle that she hopes ends with her breaking the record as the oldest female Olympic bobsledder.

Humphries, the women’s record holder with three Olympic bobsled titles, earned her first World Cup victory since February’s Winter Games, taking a monobob in Park City, Utah, on Friday.

Humphries, the first Olympic monobob champion, prevailed by .31 of a second over German Lisa Buckwitz combining times from two runs at the 2002 Olympic track.

Humphries has said since February’s Olympics that she planned to take time off in this four-year cycle to start a family, then return in time for the 2026 Milano-Cortina Winter Games. Humphries, who can become the first female Olympic bobsledder in her 40s, shared her experiences with IVF in the offseason on her social media.

“We’ve pushed pause so that I could go and compete this season, maintain my world ranking to be able to still work towards my 2026 goals, and we’ll go back in March to do the implantation of the embryos that we did retrieve,” she said, according to TeamUSA.org.

The next Games come 20 years after her first Olympic experience in Italy, which was a sad one. Humphries, then a bobsled push athlete, was part of the Canadian delegation at the 2006 Torino Games, marched at the Opening Ceremony and had her parents flown in to cheer her on.

But four days before the competition, Humphries learned she was not chosen for either of the two Canadian push athlete spots. She vowed on the flight home to put her future Olympic destiny in her own hands by becoming a driver.

She has since become the greatest female driver in history — Olympic golds in 2010, 2014 and 2022, plus five world championships.

Her longtime rival, five-time Olympic medalist Elana Meyers Taylor, plans to return to competition from her second childbirth later in this Olympic cycle and can also break the record of oldest female Olympic bobsledder.

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