Allyson Felix's brilliant career ended with a 19th World Championships medal as the United States took bronze in the 4x400m mixed relay in Eugene, Oregon on Friday.
Running in her final major championship race before retirement, Felix was cheered on by a sparse home crowd as she took the baton for the second leg, but the 36-year-old missed out on a golden farewell after the United States finished third.
The Dominican Republic team of Lidio Andres Feliz, Marileidy Paulino, Alexander Ogando and Fiordaliza Cofil won in a time of 3:09.82 ahead of the Netherlands.
"It was very special to be able to run in front of a home crowd for my last race," said Felix.
"It was so cool. My daughter was in the stands. It was a night I will cherish."
Felix added: "I've had such good memories. I know it is time and these guys will carry it on into the future.
"I am at peace stepping into this next stage and have tremendous gratitude for this sport."
Felix won the first of her 11 Olympic medals as an 18-year-old at the 2004 Athens Games when she picked up a 200m silver.
She bookended her Olympic career by winning 400m bronze and 4x400m relay gold at Tokyo last year, becoming the most decorated woman in the history of the sport.
Asked what advice she had to offer to the next generation of athletes, Felix said: "Embrace the journey.
"When you love something this much and you have difficult moments, it can break your heart.
"Every defeat, every feeling of failure, it's an opportunity to get better. And I wish that I really would have known that earlier."
A final street race in Los Angeles is planned for August to close out her career.
“There’s not one single story that can explain the impact that she had on the sport,” said Elijah Godwin, who ran the first leg and was the last teammate to hand the baton to Felix. “Over the span of the years she did it, she became an icon, and for us to come out and compete with her, it’s a blessing to have that opportunity.”