Felix passes baton to next generation

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Allyson Felix heard the roar of a World Championships home crowd for the first and last time on Friday, and while a bronze medal was not the way she wanted to end her track career, she said it was more important to ‘embrace the journey.’

Felix and her 4×400 mixed relay team mates were left on the bottom step of the podium in Eugene, Oregon after being caught down the home stretch by the Dominican Republic and the Netherlands.

There were many empty seats at Hayward Field, but the fans let 36-year-old Felix know they were behind her every step of the way when she took the baton one last time.

“It’s really cool to have it at home,” said Felix, who ran the second leg. “It had always been something. I was a little envious when you have an athlete from the home crowd and you hear that roar. And tonight, it was cool because we got that.” Felix won the first of her 11 Olympic medals as an 18-year-old at the 2004 Athens Games when she picked up a 200m silver.

She bookended her Olympic career by winning 400m bronze and 4x400m relay gold in Tokyo last year, becoming the most decorated woman in the history of the sport.

Asked what wisdom she had to offer to the next generation of athletes, Felix said: “Embrace the journey. When you love something this much and you have difficult moments, it can break your heart,” she told reporters.

“Every defeat, every feeling of failure, it’s an opportunity to get better. And I wish that I really would have known that earlier.” A final street race in Los Angeles is planned for August to close out her career.

“To hear from my fellow athletes and younger athletes – it’s been an emotional day and time period of just messages and I think it’s just something I never expected,” said Felix.

(Reuters)