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Allyson Felix Makes Her Fifth Olympic Team

The most-decorated track star in U.S. history finished second in the 400 meters in a come-from-behind thriller.

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Coming around the final turn on Sunday at the U.S. Track & Field Olympic Trials, Allyson Felix’s chances of finishing the 400 meters in the top three looked questionable. But in the last 100 meters, she remained composed and put her 17 years of high-pressure experience all out there, grabbing second place in 50.02 to earn her spot on Team USA one last time.

Quenera Hayes won the race in 49.78 and Wadeline Jonathas was a hair behind Felix for third, in 50.03.

Felix, 35, said after the race that she wasn’t about to let her last Olympic dream die after everything she’s been through to get to the Trials, which are taking place this week in Eugene, Oregon. She has nine Olympic medals and 13 world championship titles over her legendary career and she has decided that this will be her final Games.

“I told myself before the race that, you know, if it comes down to it, I have to fight,” Felix said. “That’s been a theme of mine for the past couple years and I’ve found that I constantly found myself in those positions. I was just going to give my all and leave it all on the track.”

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Felix gave birth to her daughter, Camryn, in November 2018 by emergency C-section. At 32 weeks pregnant she was diagnosed with severe preeclampsia, a potentially life-threatening complication. Camryn was born 3 pounds, 7 ounces and spent the first weeks of her life in the neonatal intensive care unit.

During that time, Felix was also unable to come to a new contract agreement with her then-sponsor Nike, who refused to guarantee pay protection during maternity leave. Felix ended up signing a deal with Athleta, but by speaking out about her experience, she’s been critical in the movement to change sponsorship policies for pro athletes who become pregnant. Felix also has started participating in more advocacy work, raising awareness about the high rates of poor pregnancy outcomes among Black women.

Camryn has played prominently in her mother’s support crew at Hayward Field this week, cheering Felix on and taking to the track for congratulatory hugs.

“It’s so different. I just wanted to really show her no matter what, that you do things with character, integrity, and you don’t give up,” Felix said on Saturday. “And to me, whether that was winning, losing, no matter the outcome, I wanted to stay consistent with that. But having her as motivation through these past couple of years has just given me a whole new drive.”

RELATED: Allyson Felix: “Dream Maternity Showed Me That Speaking Your Truth Matters”

Felix will also compete in the first round of the 200 meters at the Olympic Trials on Thursday. She’s also among the athletes in consideration for the women’s 4 x 400-meter relay or the new mixed-gender 4 x 400-meter relay in Tokyo.

Felix said on Sunday that she had many moments since 2018 that she thought a fifth Olympics may never happen.

“Especially giving birth and Cammy being premature and all the health complications that we had, I really wasn’t sure,” she said. “And then that first year back was a struggle, then the postponement [of the Olympics because of COVID-19], it just seemed like I was getting hit with thing after thing. And then the sponsorship battle. All of it. It just felt like, man, I hope something comes together for me…but I knew I wanted to give it one more shot.”