Olympian Allyson Felix Says Strong Black Women Have Helped Her Carry On

LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 7:  U.S. sprinter Allyson Felix at the media summit on March 7, 2016 in Los Angeles, CA. (Jonathan Newton / The Washington Post via Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA – MARCH 7: U.S. sprinter Allyson Felix at the media summit on March 7, 2016 in Los Angeles, CA. (Jonathan Newton / The Washington Post via Getty Images)

Allyson Felix will channel her alter-ego when she steps on the track Saturday, Aug. 13 for the women’s 400-meter race at the Olympic Games in Rio.

Her easy-going nature will fade as she listens to Beyoncé’s “Diva,” her routine pregame tune, and she’ll go into full-on beast mode. She’s hungry for first place.

Despite this year being the Los Angeles native’s fourth appearance at the Olympics, Felix admits to The Huffington Post that preparation for the races ― which will cement her track legacy ― has been a challenge like never before.

Just weeks prior to the Olympic trials, Felix injured her right ankle. She couldn’t walk, let alone run.

“My preparation was going so well that when I suffered that injury, it kind of shook everything up,” the 30-year-old told HuffPost. “I wasn’t sure that I’d even still be going to Rio. It threw a big wrench in my plans and I just had to kind of pick up the pieces and get creative.”

Felix said her shot at competing looked bleak, but she kept her faith. She entered rehab and regained the strength to walk and then run. Despite coming up short in the women’s 200-meter, Felix was able to snag a spot on the U.S. Women’s Olympic team this year for the 400-meter race and the 4×100 relay.

“I don’t even know how this happened,” she told HuffPost. “I wasn’t even walking a few months ago and, somehow, I’m on the team.”

She said she owes her determination to the women who came before her, from whom she gets her strength. And her journey to this year’s games, despite losing both her grandfather and pet dog, has been a reflection of that.

Felix praises her mentor and Olympic legend Jackie Joyner-Kersey for guiding her and paving the way for her both on and off the track. Now, she’s doing the same for others with Folger’s #OneCupAtATime campaign which gives gratitude for the life lessons mentors provide their mentees. With the campaign, Felix is celebrating the family, friends and coaches in her life who helped her become a track star.

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Source: Black Voices | Taryn Finley