ALLYSON FELIX – WHAT CAN SHE DO IN TOKYO?

Allyson Felix has won more medals in Olympic track & field athletics than any woman, with 9, sharing that number with Jamaican sprinter Merlene Ottey. Together they trail only Finnish distance runner Paavo Nurmi, who won 12 Olympic medals, and Carl Lewis, with 10. You could also include American standing jumper Ray Ewry, if you count the 1906 Intercalated Olympics, in which he won 2 gold medals, to help him get to 10 gold medals.

Felix will likely run 2 events in Tokyo. She made the team in the 400 metres and will almost certainly run the 4×400 metres as well. That gives her a chance for 2 medals in Tokyo. The USA women have won the 4×400 at the last 6 Olympics, going back to 1996, and will be favored again. In the open 400 Felix has a chance at a medal, but a gold medal is unlikely at her age and given her times this year. If Felix wins 2 medals, this would give her 11 medals, and move her ahead of Carl Lewis and Ray Ewry, however you count Ewry’s medals.

Felix also has 6 gold medals going into Tokyo, which among track & field Olympians currently trails only Nurmi and Lewis, with 9, and Ray Ewry and Usain Bolt with 8 (remember Bolt lost a gold medal in the 2008 4×100 relay after a positive doping test by Nesta Carter, who ran on the relay). (Again, you could give Ewry 10 gold medals if you count 1906.) Winning a 4×400 relay gold would move her total up to 7, although at 6, she is alone in 5th place on this list. Two gold medals (400 and 4×4) would bring her to 8, but that is an extreme long shot.

Among women, Felix is already in a class by herself. Her 6 gold medals is the most ever by a woman in Olympic track & field. Five women trail Felix with 4 Olympic gold medals – Evelyn Ashford (USA), Sanya Richards-Ross (USA), Fanny Blankers-Koen (NED), Betty Cuthbert (AUS), and Bärbel Eckert-Wöckel (GDR) – but with more gold in Tokyo Felix can distance them further.

Allyson Felix will also be competing in her 5th Olympics in Tokyo, something that has been done among Americans in track & field only by Willye White (1956-72), Gail Devers (1988-2004), and Amy Acuff (1996-2012). An American man has yet to compete in 5 Olympics in track & field, although Abdi Abdirahman will become the first in Tokyo, after having competed in 2000-12.

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