Allyson Felix, competing in her final individual Olympic race, takes bronze in 49.46 to match Carl Lewis as the the most decorated U.S. track and field athlete in history; Bahamas’ Shaunae Miller-Uibo defends her gold.
The 35-year-old Felix, a stalwart of American track and field, started in the outside lane and outraced Stephenie Ann McPherson of Jamaica to take third place by 0.15 seconds.
Felix’s 10th Olympic medal broke a tie with Jamaican runner Merlene Ottey and matches Carl Lewis, who also won 10 medals and was alone as the most-decorated U.S. athlete in track.
Felix could pass Lewis on Saturday if the U.S. puts her in the 4×400 relay final.
This is the first bronze medal of an Olympic career that spans back to the 2004 Athens Games. Earlier, she had won six gold and three silver.
While third place might have been a letdown in the past for Felix, this one was nothing but sweet.
The victory for Felix comes nearly three years after she helped spearhead a conversation about the way women are treated in track and sports in general. She severed ties with Nike, which wrote in pay reductions to women’s contracts if they became pregnant. Felix had a daughter in 2018.
“When I line up for a race, I’m normally afraid,” Felix said in a heartfelt essay on Instagram, posted hours before the race. “I’m not afraid of losing. I lose much more than I win. That’s life and I think that’s how it’s supposed to be.”