Allyson Felix, born November 18, 1985, is an American track and field athlete representing the U.S. in dozens of athletic events, including the Olympics, World Championships, World Indoor Championships, and the Diamond League. She holds 21 gold medals, six silver medals, and three bronze medals from her athletic career. Felix specializes in the sprint, a sport she got into while still in the ninth grade. The sprinter is the most decorated female athlete in track and field athletics history and has become an outspoken activist for several causes in recent years.
Allyson Michelle Felix was born in Los Angeles on November 18, 1985. Her father, Paul Felix, was an ordained minister at the Master’s Seminary in Sun Valley, and her mother, Marlean Felix, was a school teacher at Balboa Magnet Elementary School. Felix displayed a knack for athletics early on, discovering her talent for sprinting when she attended the Los Angeles Baptist High School. Only 10 weeks after her first tryout, she came in second place in the 200 meters at the U.S. Indoor Track and Field Championship.
In 2003, Felix graduated from high school, signing a professional contract with the sports company Adidas before enrolling at the University of Southern California, where she studied elementary education. A year later, Felix earned her first Olympic medal at the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, Greece, setting a junior world record by running 200 meters in 22.18 seconds. She became the youngest world champion in the 200 meters at the 2005 Helsinki World Championships and defended her title again in 2007, beating long-time Jamaican rival Veronica Campbell. Felix competed in the Olympics in Beijing, London, Rio de Janeiro, and Tokyo, consistently placing within the top three in all her events.
In 2019, Felix made headlines worldwide, but not for her athletic achievements. She chose to take on Nike, the biggest sports company in the athletics world, for their discriminatory policies towards female athletes. She had just come from an intense surgery to fix her preeclampsia so she could safely give birth, and Nike wanted to reduce her salary in the months following these events. The incident sparked outrage and led to reforms in the sports industry for female athletes, especially athlete-moms. The experience pushed her to leave Nike and sign a deal with Athleta. It also inspired her to start a shoe brand called Saysh. She married Kenneth Ferguson, an American hurdler, and sprinter. Camryn, their daughter, was born in 2018. Felix will compete in her final world championships in 2022 before hanging up her running spikes for good.
Felix competes in the Olympics for the first time, winning a silver medal in the 200-meter sprint.
She wins her first Olympic gold medal in the 4x400-meter relay event.
Felix becomes the first African-American woman to win three gold medals at the Olympics since Florence-Griffith Joyner in 1988.
She wins her 10th overall Olympic medal, becoming the most decorated track and field athlete in history, alongside Carl Lewis.
Why We Love Allyson Felix
She's a superwoman
Felix overcame life-threatening surgery so she could give birth to her daughter. After that, she went back to track and field athletics, winning gold in the women's 4x400m-relay final at the Tokyo Olympic Games in 2021.
She revolutionized the industry
When Felix called out Nike's discrimination against athlete-moms, she couldn't have known that it would spark a movement. Her protest against their unfair terms led to widespread reforms in maternity policies at Nike and other athletic apparel companies.
She supports female athletes
Her athletic footwear line supports female athletes — 20% of the retail price goes towards the Power of She fund, which helps the next generation of female athletes. She's also an advocate for maternal protection for female athletes.
5 Surprising Facts
Sports is in her blood
Her brother and agent Wes Felix was a sprinter, too, winning the 2002 USA Junior Championships in the 200-meter race and running track for the University of Southern California.
She has a sweet tooth
She grew up baking with her grandmother, and cinnamon rolls are her favorite pastry.
She played basketball
Felix was always athletic and played basketball in high school.
She's a sneakerhead
She collects sneakers and has an extensive collection, which she showcased in an interview on YouTube with athlete empowerment brand, Uninterrupted.
A huge Hello Kitty fan
Felix is a long-time 'Hello Kitty' fan and collaborated with the kids brand ahead of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
Allyson Felix FAQs
Is Usain Bolt more successful than Allyson Felix?
Felix has surpassed Bolt as the most successful athlete in the history of the IAAF athletics world championships.
Is Allyson Felix retired?
She will run her last competitive season in 2022.
Why is Allyson Felix famous?
As the first woman to win U.S. national titles in the 100, 200, and 400 meters, Felix is the most accomplished female track and field athlete in history.
Allyson Felix’s birthday dates