As U.S. Olympian and track and field sprinter Allyson Felix prepares for her several competitions in Rio de Janeiro this weekend and into next week, she may think back to her disappointment eight years ago in Beijing.
“After Beijing I was devastated,” Felix told the Associated Press. “I had worked as hard as possible, but I came up short. But I decided to rededicate myself even harder and it was a blessing in disguise. I was able to work harder than ever before and finally it all came together.”
Since 2008, however — after the silver medal disappointments in both Athens in 2004 and Beijing in 2008 — Felix switched into a new gear.
In 2012 at the London Olympics, Felix earned her first individual gold medal in the 200-meter race — adding on two relay gold medals as well (4×100, 4×400). The individual gold medal barrier had been broken for Felix in London, and she felt the weight lifted off of her shoulders.
“It felt good,” said Felix after winning gold in London, “I said ‘Thank you, Lord.’ It was relief, joy, just a flood of emotions.”
Back in 2012, Sports Spectrum named Felix its “Female Athlete of the Year” — not just for her accomplishments on the track, but also for her consistent attitude, work ethic and upstanding character.
“For me, my faith is the reason I run,” Felix told USA Today. “I definitely feel I have this amazing gift that God has blessed me with, and it’s all about using it to the best of my ability.”