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Allyson Felix: Olympic gold at last for athlete of uncommon grace

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Speaking of the Scottish missionary and Olympic sprinter whose life was chronicled in "Chariots of Fire," she told ESPN the Magazine: "Eric Liddell said that when he ran, he felt the joy of the Lord through him. I always think, 'It cannot just be you'.... That's not all there is."

After turning pro at age 18, Felix still got a degree from University of Southern California, doing the work between and sometimes on the way to events. Before Beijing, she agreed to be part of a program by the US Anti-Doping Agency called "Project Believe," in which 12 athletes agreed to increased testing in an effort to help the agency improve its methods for catching drug cheats. 

"When you get to know Allyson, you would want her to babysit your children," her coach, Bob Kersee, told the Chicago Tribune.

But for the past four years, she has struggled and made no attempt to hide it. "Anything besides winning is utter failure to her," brother and agent Wes told ESPN, and for two consecutive Olympic Games, she had not won. 

First there was Athens, and Felix was the up-and-coming 18 year old who sprinted to an unexpected silver – the youngest track and field medalist at those Games. Under the stadium and away from the cameras, she still cried, crushed at losing.

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