Allyson Felix retires from track career that brought joy, heartbreak

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Allyson Felix hopes she will be remembered as a fierce competitor. Those who followed her career over the last two decades, since the pre-Facebook era, know that to be true.

“It’s broken my heart many times, but I’ve also had many really joyous moments,” Felix said before she is expected to race at a full-fledged meet for the last time Friday in the mixed-gender 4x400m relay at the world championships in Eugene, Oregon. “I’m going to miss it so much.”

Felix’s career is defined not just by victories (29 Olympic or world outdoor championships medals, with 20 golds), but also how she won: returning from defeats, injuries and then a life-threatening pregnancy to always get back on the top step of podiums.

That in mind, a look back at the defining races of Felix’s career:

TRACK WORLDS: Broadcast Schedule | U.S. Roster | Key Events

2004 Athens Olympics: Silver in debut

Felix, an 18-year-old who had turned pro out of high school, was runner-up to Jamaican Veronica Campbell-Brown to start what would become a rivalry that spanned three Olympics. Felix became the youngest Olympic medalist in an individual track race in 24 years. Felix, who didn’t take a victory lap (perhaps out of inexperience), said that night in Greece, “When I was coming down the stretch, it was a lot of heart and giving it all I had. … I feel I took a lot away from it. This is just a start for me.”

2005 Helsinki World Championships: First world title

The first teenager to win an individual world title in the sprints, Felix overtook Frenchwoman Christine Arron in the finishing straight by showing what became a trademark controlled form in the closing meters. She won after switching coaches from Pat Connolly to Bobby Kersee following the Athens Games. Kersee has coached her ever since and has coached an Olympic gold medalist in every women’s sprint event — flat and hurdles.

2008 Beijing Olympics: Silver again

Felix went into her second Olympics as the two-time reigning world 200m champion (including a blowout victory in 2007 by .53 of a second), but Campbell-Brown arrived in Beijing with the world’s two fastest wind-legal times in 2008. The Jamaican delivered again under a light rain in the Olympic final, dominating in what ended up being the best time of her life. In a memorable scene, Felix was consoled by family members in the stands amid her victory lap. “I felt prepared. I felt ready. It just wasn’t there today,” she said after a repeat of the 2004 Olympic one-two, reportedly choking back tears in a post-race interview. “Deja vu, and not in a good way.”

2011 Daegu World Championships: Double denied

Ever since 2005, Felix harbored a goal of winning four gold medals at a single Olympics. The 2011 World Championships could have been a dress rehearsal. She ran two individual events at a global championship for the first time, in addition to two relays. It did not go as hoped. Felix won four medals, but, painfully, was held off by Botswana’s Amantle Montsho in the 400m final by three hundredths. Three years later, Montsho tested positive for a banned stimulant and was suspended two years. Four nights after the 400m, Felix’s world title streak in the 200m was snapped as she finished third. “When the race was over and the scripted ‘victory’ lap was finished, she did the same thing as after her 400 loss and ducked into a medical tent to compose herself. She never lets us see her cry, if, indeed, that’s what she was doing,” Tim Layden, now with NBC Sports, wrote for Sports Illustrated from Daegu. The conclusion: A 200m-400m double at the next year’s Olympics was off the table, not with Felix still seeking her first individual Olympic gold.

2012 Olympic Trials: The dead heat

Felix decided to go for two individual events at her third Olympic Trials: the 100m and the 200m. The 100m was up first, and it produced a controversial result. Felix and training partner Jeneba Tarmoh crossed the finish line together for the third and last spot on the team individually (both made it in the relay pool). Tarmoh was originally put ahead by one thousandth of a second. It was later reversed, declared a dead heat and through tiebreaking procedures a run-off was announced. Tarmoh later withdrew before it could be held, saying that her “heart would not be in the race,” handing the spot to Felix.

2012 London Olympics: Gold, at last

Felix’s first (and lone) individual Olympic title came in one of the strongest women’s sprint fields in history. She prevailed, comfortably in the end, over two-time reigning Olympic 100m champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, who was followed by reigning world 100m champion Carmelita Jeter, then 2004 and 2008 Olympic 200m champion Campbell-Brown and reigning Olympic 400m champion Sanya Richards-Ross. “I thought back to the moment of Beijing [in 2008] and just being so disappointed and the road that I had to just get back here and just never wanted to give up,” Felix said that night. Two nights later, Felix was part of a 4x100m relay quartet that broke the world record (still stands today) and for years spoke glowingly about the experience.

2013 Moscow World Championships: Carried off the track

After securing that individual Olympic gold, Felix set out at age 26 on the second half of her career. It began in earnest at the 2013 World Championships. But Felix only made it about 50 meters into the 200m final before tearing her right hamstring and dropping to the ground. Brother and agent Wes Felix (who in 2002 finished third in the world junior championships 200m won by Usain Bolt) carried her off the track. Felix said before those worlds that she wanted to build up for a 2016 Olympic 200m-400m double bid, but the first major injury of her career put everything into doubt.

2016 Rio Olympics: The dive

Felix returned from the hamstring tear to finish 2014 as the world’s top 200m runner. In 2015, she became, primarily, a 400m runner. She contested solely the one-lap race at the national championships and then won the world title in the fastest time she’d ever run. She went into 2016 with the 200m-400m Olympic double on her mind. But on April 17, less than three months before Olympic Trials, she landed on a medicine ball in a workout and partially tore right ankle ligaments. She won the 400m at trials, but the injury affected her more in the 200m, where she lacked the necessary explosive power. “She was giving up three steps out of the blocks,” Wes said after Felix, known to have leg-pressed 700 pounds at her peak, missed the Olympic team by one hundredth at trials. So Felix went to Rio to race the 400m. In the final, Felix ran down a leading-but-tiring Bahamian Shaunae Miller-Uibo in the straightaway. Felix leaned at the line. Miller-Uibo dived (she said by accident), throwing her body at the line, and won by seven hundredths. Diving is a legal move, though one that is usually less efficient than running through the line with a well-timed lean. “It’s going to be tough. I’m just going to try to pick myself up,” Felix said of the silver.

2019 USATF Outdoor Championships: The comeback

Felix returned to competition less than eight months after having daughter Camryn via life-threatening, emergency C-section surgery at 32 weeks. She finished sixth in the 400m at nationals to qualify for a ninth consecutive world championships team, going to worlds in the 4x400m relay pool. Felix said she was “far from” her best going into the meet off “very little” training, but her focus was on the year ahead. “I want to be back at the Olympics,” she said then. “I want that more than anything. I want to go out on my terms.” At worlds, Felix won two relay golds, breaking her tie with Usain Bolt for the most golds in world championships history.

2020 Tokyo Olympics: Golden mom

In her last individual Olympic race, Felix ran the second-fastest 400m of her career to edge Jamaican Stephenie Ann McPherson for bronze. At 35, Felix became the oldest U.S. woman to win an Olympic track and field medal and the first person to win an individual track and field medal at five fully attended Olympics. “I was told [after childbirth] that was it for [my career],” Felix said. “I knew that I still had more to give.” The next day, she added 4x400m gold, her 11th Olympic medal, breaking Carl Lewis‘ record for the most track and field medals for an American.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

ON HER TURF: Felix’s legacy grows as retirement looms

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2023 French Open men’s singles draw

Novak Djokovic, Carlos Alcaraz
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The French Open men’s singles draw is missing injured 14-time champion Rafael Nadal for the first time since 2004, leaving the Coupe des Mousquetaires ripe for the taking.

The tournament airs live on NBC Sports, Peacock and Tennis Channel through championship points in Paris.

Novak Djokovic is not only bidding for a third crown at Roland Garros, but also to lift a 23rd Grand Slam singles trophy to break his tie with Nadal for the most in men’s history.

FRENCH OPEN: Broadcast Schedule | Women’s Draw

But the No. 1 seed is Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz, who won last year’s U.S. Open to become, at 19, the youngest man to win a major since Nadal’s first French Open title in 2005.

Now Alcaraz looks to become the second-youngest man to win at Roland Garros since 1989, after Nadal of course.

Alcaraz missed the Australian Open in January due to a right leg injury, but since went 30-3 with four titles. Notably, he has not faced Djokovic this year. They meet in Friday’s semifinals.

Russian Daniil Medvedev, the No. 2 seed, was upset in the first round by 172nd-ranked Brazilian qualifier Thiago Seyboth Wild. It marked the first time a men’s top-two seed lost in the first round of any major since 2003 Wimbledon (Ivo Karlovic d. Lleyton Hewitt).

All of the American men lost before the fourth round. The last U.S. man to make the French Open quarterfinals was Andre Agassi in 2003.

MORE: All you need to know for 2023 French Open

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2023 French Open Men’s Singles Draw

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IOC board recommends withdrawing International Boxing Association’s recognition

Tokyo 2020 Olympics: Boxing

The IOC finally ran out of patience with the International Boxing Federation on Wednesday and set a date to terminate its Olympic status this month.

While boxing will still be on the program at the 2024 Paris Games, the International Olympic Committee said its executive board has asked the full membership to withdraw its recognition of the IBA at a special meeting on June 22.

IOC members rarely vote against recommendations from their 15-member board and the IBA’s ouster is likely a formality.

The IOC had already suspended the IBA’s recognition in 2019 over long-standing financial, sports integrity and governance issues. The Olympic body oversaw the boxing competitions itself at the Tokyo Olympics held in 2021 and will do so again for Paris.

An IOC statement said the boxing body “has failed to fulfil the conditions set by the IOC … for lifting the suspension of the IBA’s recognition.”

The IBA criticized what it called a “truly abhorrent and purely political” decision by the IOC and warned of “retaliatory measures.”

“Now, we are left with no chance but to demand a fair assessment from a competent court,” the boxing body’s Russian president Umar Kremlev said in a statement.

The IOC-IBA standoff has also put boxing’s place at the 2028 Los Angeles Games at risk, though that should now be resolved.

The IOC previously stressed it has no problem with the sport or its athletes — just the IBA and its current president Kremlev, plus financial dependence on Russian state energy firm Gazprom.

In a 24-page report on IBA issues published Wednesday, the IOC concluded “the accumulation of all of these points, and the constant lack of drastic evolution throughout the many years, creates a situation of no-return.”

Olympic boxing’s reputation has been in question for decades. Tensions heightened after boxing officials worldwide ousted long-time IOC member C.K. Wu as their president in 2017 when the organization was known by its French acronym AIBA.

“From a disreputable organization named AIBA governed by someone from the IOC’s upper echelon, we committed to and executed a change in the toxic and corrupt culture that was allowed to fester under the IOC for far too long,” Kremlev said Wednesday in a statement.

National federations then defied IOC warnings in 2018 by electing as their president Gafur Rakhimov, a businessman from Uzbekistan with alleged ties to organized crime and heroin trafficking.

Kremlev’s election to replace Rakhimov in 2020 followed another round of IOC warnings that went unheeded.

Amid the IBA turmoil, a rival organization called World Boxing has attracted initial support from officials in the United States, Switzerland and Britain.

The IBA can still continue to organize its own events and held the men’s world championships last month in the Uzbek capital Tashkent.

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