‘They want to see the medal’: Felix toting gold

Allyson Felix reached into her purse and pulled out a black box

that she opened gingerly, revealing the Olympic gold medal from the

200 meters she worried might never be hers.

Now it is.

”No one wants to just see me anymore. They want to see the

medal,” the American sprinter said in an interview with The

Associated Press on Friday, several hours before heading to Olympic

Stadium and winning a second gold with a world record in the

4×100-meter relay.

Felix knows exactly where her new prizes will reside once she

gets back to California: her parents’ home, where all her other

medals are, including the two silvers from the 200 in Athens and

Beijing.

”They like to brag,” Felix said, chuckling and rolling her

eyes. ”And when people come over, (the medals) somehow fall into

their laps. They have fun with that stuff.”

If all goes to plan, Felix will be able to add to the collection

at Mom and Dad’s place. That’s because she will get a shot at a

third 2012 gold in the 4×400 relay on Saturday – and because Felix

figures she has one more Summer Games in her.

She’s also sure she can continue to improve.

What’s far too soon to tell: whether she’ll try a 100-200 or

200-400 double in Rio de Janeiro four years from now.

Felix thinks she can ”be in the mix” for the 100 and has

”potential” for the 400, too.

”I don’t know which way it’ll go, but the 100 is kind of where

my heart is,” said Felix, who was fifth in the dash final last

Saturday.

”I still think I can go faster,” she said.

What she’s thrilled about for now is finally getting the gold

she always wanted.

According to USA Track and Field, Felix is the most decorated

woman in 200-meter history, with seven Olympic and world

championship medals at the distance – four of them gold.

Until Wednesday’s victory, though, the golds all had come at

world championships.

She grew concerned about whether it would ever happen at an

Olympics.

”I definitely got discouraged, frustrated along the way to

trying to get this gold medal. I felt like I was so close so many

times and so good in the off-years, and you just kind of wonder why

everything doesn’t come together at the right time,” Felix said.

”I definitely had days where I wondered: Would I ever get to this

moment?”

With that gold comes a fresh opportunity to try to help increase

track and field’s profile in the U.S.

Felix accepts that role.

”The sport is doing OK in the States. Obviously, we’re

competing against other sports we really don’t have a shot with. I

would love for it to be on the forefront in America, but where

we’re at right now, we’re not there,” Felix said. ”I do feel a

responsibility to try to do the most that I can do to try to propel

it, but it’s just kind of where it is now.”

One athlete she believes will help boost track and field’s

appeal is Usain Bolt, the sprinter who is the only man with golds

from the 100 and 200 at two Olympics.

Felix watched on TV as Bolt won the 200 on Thursday in 19.32

seconds, a night after she ran 21.88.

”To see what he’s doing and the way that he’s doing it, with

his personality, it’s fascinating to watch,” she said.

”It’s hard to argue that he isn’t a ‘living legend,”’ Felix

continued, echoing the phrase Bolt uses to describe himself. ”I

mean, the things that he’s doing, and the times that he’s running,

it would be very hard to say that he isn’t. He definitely puts on a

show.”

As impressed as she is by Bolt’s running, she enjoys his pre-

and postrace antics, too.

The royal wave he debuted Thursday. The kidding around with

Olympics volunteers before settling into the starting blocks. The

five pushups he did after winning the 200 – one for each of his

Olympic golds. The way he grabbed a camera from a photographer and

snapped photos.

No way Felix could do that sort of thing.

”Any little thing puts me off. I’m just amazed and want to know

how can he be everywhere and still get the job done. But he’s just

that good,” she said. ”For me, right before a race, I have to be

tuned in to what I’m doing. I have to be going through the race in

my mind. I have to be dialed in to what I have to be doing here and

here and here. That’s where my focus is. I can’t imagine dancing

around and still being able to do that. But he gets it done.”

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