Seventeen years after she qualified for her first Olympics Games, sprinter Allyson Felix is now headed to her fifth—joining Gail Devers as the only other person in the sport to compete in that many Olympics.
On Sunday night, Felix finished second in the women’s 400-meter final at the USATF Olympic Team Trials in Eugene, Oregon, earning her place at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics. With a final kick at the end, Felix, who is sponsored by Athleta, finished in season-best time of 50.02. Nike-sponsored athlete Quanera Hayes won the event in 49.78, while Wadeline Jonathas, who is sponsored by Adidas, finished third. All three runners will be headed to Tokyo.
While the second-place finish guarantees Felix entry into the 400-meter race at Tokyo, she’s still planning to run the 200 meters later this week at Trials. If she qualifies for the Games in that event, she’d have the option of running either the 200 meters or the 400 meters in Tokyo, since runners can’t compete in both, according to NBC Sports. She’s also able to run the 4×400-meter relay in Tokyo for Team USA.
Felix already has nine Olympic medals—six golds and three silvers—and if she were to medal just once more in Tokyo, she’d tie Carl Lewis for the most Olympic hardware for a track and field athlete, NBC Sports reports.
The Trials serve as a comeback story of sorts for Felix, who publicly split with her former sponsor Nike and penned an op-ed in The New York Times where she implored the company to support female runners through their pregnancies, as SELF reported. (Felix gave birth to her daughter, Camryn, in 2018 by emergency C-section.) After running in the USATF Outdoor Championships that year unattached, she signed with Athleta in 2019, becoming the apparel brand’s first sponsored athlete.
“As a mother, as an activist, all these different parts of who I am, I’m more than an athlete,” she told SELF in 2019. “And it’s amazing to be supported in that way and to be able to partner and to create things together, to have values aligned and to do more than just perform.” Along with asking for greater support for pregnant runners, Felix is also raising awareness about the Black maternal mortality crisis in the U.S. In March, she joined the Hear Her campaign at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to educate others on potential warning signs of pregnancy complications.
After the 400-meter trial, Camryn joined her mom on the track, where she met Hayes’s son. The two toddlers hugged in greeting as their moms congratulated each other on their upcoming trip to Tokyo, as NBC caught on video.