Golden Felix finale as USA storm to 4x400m Olympic victory

AFP , Saturday 7 Aug 2021

Felix, who on Friday became the most decorated female track and field athlete of all time with a bronze in the individual 400m, helped a 'Dream Team' US quartet romp home in 3min 16.85sec

Bronze medallist USA s Allyson Felix celebrates on the podium during the medal ceremony for the wome
Bronze medallist USA s Allyson Felix celebrates on the podium during the medal ceremony for the women s 400m event during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium in Tokyo on August 6, 2021. AFP

Allyson Felix brought the curtain down on her glittering Olympic career with a seventh gold medal as the United States stormed to a crushing victory in the 4x400m women's relay on Saturday.

Felix, who on Friday became the most decorated female track and field athlete of all time with a bronze in the individual 400m, helped a 'Dream Team' US quartet romp home in 3min 16.85sec.

Poland took silver, while Jamaica took bronze.

The USA fielded a star-studded line-up which included world record-breaking 400m hurdler and newly crowned Olympic champion Sydney McLaughlin, 400 hurdles silver medallist Dalilah Muhammad and teenage 800m gold medallist Athing Mu alongside the veteran Felix.

With McLaughlin getting the American women off to a blistering start before handing off to Felix on the second leg, it soon became clear that the US quartet were racing against history and the Soviet Union's 33-year-old world record of 3:15.17 set at the drug-tainted Seoul Olympics.

But while Muhammad built up a massive lead for Mu, the record remained just out of reach even though the 19-year-old from New Jersey crossed the line four seconds clear of Polish anchor runner Justyna Swiety-Ersetic.

Felix, 35, is competing in her fifth and final Summer Games and now has 11 total Olympic medals, extending her record as the most decorated female track and field Olympian in history.

"I came out at peace, wanting to soak it all in," said Felix after her final Olympic race.

"I think this was a really special team because we're not 400m runners. It was really cool to come together to close out the Olympic games and my Olympic career."

Felix's 11th medal also took Felix one clear of Carl Lewis' 10 medals as the most decorated US track and field Olympic athlete.

Felix's team-mates paid tribute to her.

"I was honoured, especially when they told us who the four was," Muhammad said of being picked alongside Felix.

"I've been inspired by her throughout her entire career and I'm honoured to have been a part of this team with her in her last Olympics.

"I think we'll look back on this and just think about how special this team really was."

McLaughlin added: "It's an honour, just being able to be part of her last race."

Felix meanwhile praised the leading contribution of the American women to the USA's track and field campaign, winning five out of seven golds.

"It was awesome," Felix said. "I think the women showed up. On the track and off the track in lots of ways.

"I loved it, and loved seeing it. Sitting back and watching each woman perform was inspiring. It was really cool."

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