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Allyson Felix becomes most decorated female track and field Olympian

The U.S. sprinter made history after winning bronze on Friday (Aug. 6).

Allyson Felix Getty Images

U.S. sprinter Allyson Felix claimed the bronze medal in the Olympic 400-meter final on Friday (Aug. 6) and made history in the process. The 35-year-old runner is now the most decorated female Olympian in track and field.

According to NBC News, Felix was previously tied with Jamaica’s Merlene Ottey for the female track athlete with the most Olympic medals, but broke that tie on Friday. She now has 10 Olympic medals, whereas Ottey has nine. Felix is also now tied with the legendary Carl Lewis for the most medals by an American track and field athlete.

Felix finished the 400-meter final with a time of 49.46, just 0.26 seconds behind the Dominican Republic’s Marileidy Paulino, who came in second; and 1.10 seconds behind Bahamas’ Shaunae Miller-Uibo, who took gold.

The Tokyo Olympics mark Felix’s fifth Olympics since she first made her debut at the 2004 Athens Games at 18 years old. She finished second in the 400-meter race at the U.S. track trials in Eugene, Oregon; qualifying for the Olympics in June.

“I’m just proud of making it to this moment,” she said at the time. “There’s so much that’s gone into this. Many times, I wasn’t sure if it was possible. I’m just proud of fighting and making a way somehow.”

In the semifinals, Felix finished the 400-meter in 49.89 seconds, marking her first under-50 second time since surviving a life-threatening pregnancy and childbirth almost three years ago. Ahead of the women’s individual 400-meter final, Felix told NBC Nightly News’ Lester Holt that her Olympic journey has been “incredible.”

“This is so much bigger than running fast,” she said. “It’s showing women that we can be present at home and we can also thrive in our professions.”

Felix is also poised to win her 11th medal this Saturday (Aug. 7) when she competes in the 4x400-meter relay.

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