Allyson Felix stands alone.
Competing in her fifth Olympics, Felix netted her 10th Olympic medal on Friday racing in the 400-meter final when she finished with a season-best time of 49.46 to capture the bronze, breaking a tie with Jamaican sprinter Merlene Ottey to become the most decorated female track and field athlete in Olympic history.
In netting the medal, Felix also tied Carl Lewis’ record for the most Olympic medals with 10. She could pass him with a medal in Saturday’s final of the 4×400-meter relay.
Shaunae Miller-Uibo of the Bahamas won gold with a time of 48.36 to win her second straight gold medal in the event after winning it at the 2016 Rio Olympics. Marileidy Paulino of the Dominican Republic earned silver with a time of 49.20.
After Felix tied his record, Lewis tweeted out a congratulatory message.
Congratulations @allysonfelix. 35 never looked so good. What an amazing career and inspiration. Now on to the relay.
— Carl Lewis (@Carl_Lewis) August 6, 2021
Felix began out of the outer-most lane, lane nine, and got off to a fast start. Miller-Uibo passed her and put some distance between herself and the rest of the field on the final turn, and Paulino just passed in front of Felix in the final stretch of the run to take second. Felix came into the race with the second-slowest season-best time in the field at 49.89, with Miller-Uibo owning the top time at 49.08.
Felix already held the record for the most gold medals won by a female track and field athlete in history, and at 35 continues to add to her list of accomplishments by now becoming the single most decorated Olympian.
The road back has been anything but easy for Felix. She gave birth to her daughter Camryn in November 2018 in an emergency C-section. Though she attempted to rush herself back to the track, Nike, her sponsor, dropped her pay by 70 percent, Felix said in an op-ed for The New York Times. She did not re-sign with Nike and has since launched her own shoe brand. After the fallout with Felix and other female athletes, Nike announced that it would change its maternity policies, according to The Washington Post.
Felix’s time didn’t just net her the bronze medal. It was also her fastest since she gave birth to her daughter, according to NBCSports’ Tim Layden.
Allyson Felix’s time of 49.46 is the fastest she’s run since 2015, before she gave birth to her daughter. Also, at age 35, no woman has ever run faster older.
— Tim Layden (@ByTimLayden) August 6, 2021