Allyson Felix capped her career with a 30th global outdoor championships medal, bronze in the mixed-gender 4x400m relay at the world championships on Friday in Eugene, Oregon.
“Really special. I felt a lot of love out there,” she said. “It met every expectation. It’s a night that I’ll really cherish.”
Felix, a 36-year-old who will retire after this season, contested what was expected to be her one and only race of worlds on the opening night of the 10-day meet.
The U.S., with Elija Godwin, Felix, Vernon Norwood and Kennedy Simon, finished behind the Dominican Republic and the Netherlands. Simon was given the lead on anchor and was passed on the final straight. The U.S. did not enter its best 400m runners in the event.
In her last major meet, Felix did not qualify to race an individual event and is not expected to be on the women’s 4x400m next weekend.
So she finishes her career with a U.S. track and field record 11 Olympic medals and now 19 world outdoor championships medals, extending her record in the latter for the most by any athlete from any nation. Of those 30 medals, 20 are gold, also a record for the most combined Olympic and world titles in the sport.
Felix made her world championships debut in 2003, just after high school graduation, and went 18 years between her first and last global championships medals.
“It definitely felt different,” on Friday, she said, looking forward to retirement — eating ice cream and taking daughter Camryn to soccer practice. “I think it was the first time I heard the crowd while I was running.”
Worlds continue Saturday, headlined by the men’s 100m semifinals and final where a U.S. medals sweep is possible.
In 100m qualifying on Friday, American Fred Kerley clocked 9.79 seconds, the fastest-ever first-round time at an Olympics or world championships and a time that would have won the Tokyo Olympic title. Only one man has run faster than that this year — Kerley, the Olympic silver medalist.
Kerley is joined in the 100m semifinals by all of the other medal favorites, including Americans Trayvon Bromell (9.89), the world’s fastest man last year, and defending world champion Christian Coleman (10.08), both heat winners.
Italy’s Marcell Jacobs, the surprise Olympic gold medalist, advanced in 10.04, then said he is dealing with injuries in both of his legs. Jacobs has been sidelined by illness and injury since winning the world indoor 60m title in March.
“I’m not really well,” Jacobs told Lewis Johnson on USA Network. “I want to come here with the best performance. It’s not easy, but we try.”
The favorites also advanced through qualifying in the women’s 1500m (Kenyan Faith Kipyegon and Ethiopian Gudaf Tsegay), men’s 3000m steeplechase (Moroccan Soufiane El Bakkali and Ethiopian Lamecha Girma), men’s shot put (Americans Ryan Crouser and Joe Kovacs), women’s shot put (China’s Gong Lijao and American Chase Ealey), women’s pole vault (Americans Sandi Morris and Katie Nageotte), men’s long jump (Greek Miltiadis Tentoglou), men’s high jump (Qatar’s Mutaz Barshim and Italian Gianmarco Tamberi), men’s hammer (Poland’s Pawel Fajdek and Wojciech Nowicki) and women’s hammer (Americans Brooke Andersen and Janee’ Kassanavoid).
The most notable athletes eliminated were Jamaican long jumper Tajay Gayle, the reigning world champion, and British pole vaulter Holly Bradshaw, the Olympic bronze medalist. Gayle, who ranks outside the world top 50 this year, fouled all three attempts. Bradshaw snapped a pole in warm-up, felt discomfort and withdrew as a precaution, according to British Athletics.
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