Allyson Felix, one of the most successful athletes in Olympic history, has announced that she will retire from athletics at the end of the 2022 season.
At the age of 35, Felix won a bronze medal in the 400 metres at the Tokyo Games last summer, then followed it up with a gold medal in the 4x400 relay. Those were her 10th and 11th Olympic medals, which helped her pass Carl Lewis in the US record books and left her behind only one runner in history, Finland’s Paavo Nurmi, who won 12 medals between 1920 and 1928.
"As a little girl they called me chicken legs, never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined I’d have a career like this. I have so much gratitude for this sport that has changed my life," Felix said in an Instagram post Wednesday.
"I have given everything I have to running and for the first time I’m not sure if I have anything left to give. I want to say goodbye and thank you to the sport and people who have helped shape me the only way I know how – with one last run. This season isn’t about the time on the clock, it’s simply about joy. If you see me on the track this year I hope to share a moment, a memory and my appreciation with you."
Felix's last major meets look set to be the US Championships from June 23-26, then the World Championships, which take place in Eugene, Oregon, from July 15-24.
Felix also has a record 13 gold medals and 18 overall from World Championships.
More recently, she has become an outspoken advocate for women. Her daughter, Camryn, was born in 2018. Around the same time, Felix cut ties with Nike, upset with the way the company treated pregnant athletes.
In her Instagram post, she said: “This season I’m running for women. I’m running for a better future for my daughter. I’m running for you. More to come on that, so stay tuned, but I’ll be sharing a series of announcements that I’m hoping will make the world better for women."