Track star Allyson Felix has qualified for her fifth straight Olympics after finishing second in the 400 meters during the U.S. Track & Fields Olympics trials on Sunday. The Tokyo Olympics will mark her first Games as a mother.
The 35-year-old was trailing in the race before making a dramatic comeback to claim second in a photo-finish, clinching her spot. The nine-time Olympic medalist will head to Japan, where she can tie or break running legend Carl Lewis’ record for most Olympic medals (10) by an American track and field athlete.
“Man, it has been a fight to get here,” Felix said during a postrace interview on NBC Sports. “And one thing I know how to do is fight, so I just wanted to do that all the way home.”
Felix also shared a touching moment with her daughter, Camry Grace, and the winner of the 400-meter race, Quanera Hayes and her son, Demetrius, following her performance. Hayes later reflected on the special moment she shared with Felix and their kids.
“I just told her that I was grateful for all she’s done for mothers,” she told The Register-Guard. “How she fought for us and paved the way for me as an athlete. I just thanked her for being her and never giving up and was paying homage to her.”
Hayes, along with third place finisher Wadeline Jonathas, will join Felix in Tokyo.
In 2018, Felix underwent an emergency C-section and gave birth to her daughter two months early. Camryn, who Felix said only weighed three pounds at the time, then spent 29 days in the NICU. Ten months later,her 12th world championship gold medal, breaking legendary sprinter Usain Bolt’s record.
“Today I thought about all the things,” Felix said Sunday. “I thought about us fighting in the NICU, fighting for my life…Whatever happened, I just knew all glory to the most high.”