Olympic Champion Allyson Felix to Retire from Track and Field After 2022 Season

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVApril 13, 2022

Bronze medalist Allyson Felix, of the United States, poses during the medal ceremony for the women's 400-meter run at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Friday, Aug. 6, 2021, in Tokyo. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)
AP Photo/Martin Meissner

Track and field legend Allyson Felix is planning to retire following the 2022 season.

Felix announced her decision Wednesday on Instagram:

"As a little girl they called chicken legs, never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined I’d have a career like this. I have so much gratitude for this sport that has changed my life. I have given everything I have to running and for the first time I’m not sure if I have anything left to give. I want to say goodbye and thank you to the sport and people who have helped shape me the only way I know how—with one last run. This season isn’t about the time on the clock, it’s simply about joy. If you see me on the track this year I hope to share a moment, a memory and my appreciation with you."
Alex Azzi @AlexAzziNBC

Allyson Felix just confirmed via Instagram that this will be her final season. <br><br>"This season I’m running for women. I’m running for a better future for my daughter. I’m running for you." <a href="https://twitter.com/OnHerTurf?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@OnHerTurf</a> | <a href="https://twitter.com/allysonfelix?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@allysonfelix</a> <a href="https://t.co/wF7PwCCedJ">pic.twitter.com/wF7PwCCedJ</a>

Felix took a break from competition in 2018 prior to giving birth. To that point, she had already compiled a legendary career.

The California native was a seven-time Olympic gold medalist and three-time silver medalist in the Summer Games. In 2012, she was part of a U.S. team that set a world record in the 4x100-meter relay.

Felix added to her legacy when she ran her way onto the United States' squad ahead of the 2021 Summer Olympics in Tokyo. At 35, she earned bronze in the 400 meters and ran one leg for Team USA in a gold medal-winning effort in the 4x400 relay.

NBC Olympics @NBCOlympics

.<a href="https://twitter.com/allysonfelix?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@allysonfelix</a> joins Gail Devers as the only U.S. sprinter to compete at 5 Olympic Games.<br><br>At the <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/TokyoOlympics?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#TokyoOlympics</a>, she could tie or break the record for most medals won by an American track and field athlete, currently held by Carl Lewis (10). <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/TrackFieldTrials21?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#TrackFieldTrials21</a> <a href="https://t.co/uuq35ecWK9">pic.twitter.com/uuq35ecWK9</a>

Her 11 Olympic medals are the most all time for an American track athlete.

Beyond what she achieved on the track, Felix helped to bring public scrutiny upon Nike for the company's policy toward pregnant athletes.

She said in a piece for the New York Times that she "felt pressure to return to form as soon as possible after the birth of my daughter in November 2018, even though I ultimately had to undergo an emergency C-section at 32 weeks because of severe pre-eclampsia that threatened the lives of me and my baby."

Felix added that Nike was looking to give her a contract that was 70 percent lower than her last deal, and she contended the company declined to provide any firm guarantees she "wouldn’t be punished if I didn’t perform at my best in the months surrounding childbirth."

Nike eventually amended its policy.

Time named Felix as one of the 100 most influential people for 2021. Penning an essay for the magazine, two-time Olympic medalist Michelle Kwan wrote Felix "sets an extraordinary example as a mother, as a woman and as an athlete." In addition, she said Felix's advocacy on maternity issues "will have a ripple effect that goes on forever."