Allyson Felix reflects on footprints she’s leaving on track

Allyson Felix reflects on footprints she’s leaving on track

EUGENE, Ore. — Before crossing the finish line for the very last time in a career that made her America’s most decorated sprinter, Allyson Felix was interested in something far more leisurely — a stroll down memory lane.

She flashed back to the time when she was a shy 17-year-old sprinting prodigy, with Olympic and world-championship glory still only a hopeful vision.

She wondered: Would teenage Allyson have imagined that by the time she reached 36, and was getting ready for her very last race at the world championships in Eugene, Oregon, she would have accomplished this much — inside and outside of her lane?

Felix certainly found her speed on the track and, later, her voice away from it. She’s starred in big stadiums worldwide — 29 Olympic and world-championship medals — and stared down Nike on pregnancy issues during her journey toward becoming an advocate for women’s rights.

On Friday, after a 4×400 mixed relay, Felix will bid farewell to the track scene. She might even take off her Saysh shoes — her new company — and leave them on the track.

One last symbolic gesture to bring home one unmistakable message — she left a powerful footprint.

“I’m super-proud of all the stuff that’s happened on the track,” Felix said in an interview with The Associated Press. “But I think my biggest accomplishments are the things that didn’t necessarily get a medal.”

Soon, Felix will be just mom. Not a sprinter. Not a sprinter-slash-mom. Just mom. She likes the sound of that.

She’s looking forward to a much slower pace. Like taking her daughter, Camryn, who turns 4 on Nov. 28, to soccer practice.

“Excited for all the normal things — things that might seem boring to some,” said Felix, who is from California. “I’ve grown so much from that teenage girl who started out and was so shy. I never would have imagined this: Running into my 30s. That would’ve felt ancient at 17 years old.”

Since turning pro out of high school, she’s been all about training and racing. Just trying to coax a little more speed out of her lanky frame, which earned her the playful nickname of “Chicken Legs.” She won gold in her signature event, the 200 meters, at the 2012 London Games — one of her 11 Olympic medals. She’s earned plenty of hardware as part of relay teams, too, and is favored to help bring home another Friday (she didn’t qualify in an individual event).

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