Felix finds silver lining in her historic bronze
LONDON — Bronze in Wednesday’s 400m proved bittersweet consolation for US track legend Allyson Felix as she equaled the 14 world championship medals won by Jamaicans Merlene Ottey and Usain Bolt.
Felix has also bagged an incredible nine Olympic medals, including six gold. Of her 14 world medals, nine are gold, while 12 were won as part of the US relay team.
Bolt, in his final season, can move to 15 with a medal in the 4x100m relay this weekend, but Felix is slated to run both the 4x100 and 4x400m relays for the US team, which could take her to 16.
Felix surged to bronze on Wednesday after Bahamas rival and race leader Shaunae Miller-Uibo faltered 20 meters from the finish line.
In pouring rain, Felix’s unheralded teammate Phyllis Francis ripped up the form book to claim gold, with Bahrain’s Salwa Eid Naser taking silver just ahead of Felix.
Francis looked out of the medals with 80 meters to go but maintained her form amid the carnage to post a personal best time of 49.92sec — but even after crossing the finish line she had no idea she had won.
“I cannot lie, I am disappointed to lose one gold tonight but the championships is not over yet so we keep going,” said Felix, who kicked off her medal haul with a 200m silver at the 2004 Olympics in Athens.
Her first global gold came in the 200m at the Helsinki world championships a year later.
“But this was the race that mattered to me, the individual race. To come up short is never fun, but I am happy for my teammate.
“At this level, you cannot underestimate anyone.
“You always go into a race wanting to win and that was my goal all season, so when you fall short of that mark it definitely comes as a disappointment.
“At the same time, I feel very grateful to have done this for a long time and still be competing at the top.”
Felix, now 31, added: “I am not hurt, it is just the 400m, it is what it is. The conditions were the same for everyone, so I am not sure if that was much of a factor tonight. It all seems wet to me.
“I still feel it is not over yet. I still did not give everything so I am excited to keep going until 2020 and the Tokyo Olympics.”
Felix played down the idea that she has not been given enough credit for her astonishing longevity and medal haul.
“You know I never really think about it too much. I love the sport and I’m passionate about it,” she said. “I’m really proud of what I’ve done over the past 14 years, and as long as I’m enjoying myself then that is enough for me.”
Phyllis Francis of the US wins the 400m final ahead of compatriot Allyson Felix and Shaunae Miller-Uibo of Bahamas at London Stadium on Wednesday.