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Allyson Felix

Motivated by Past Failures

Allyson Felix is one of the most accomplished sprinters in U.S. track and field history, but her past success doesn’t mean she lacks any motivation in Rio, her fourth Olympics appearance.

Three of Felix’s six career Olympic medals, including a gold in 2012, came in the 200-meter dash. This time around, the 30-year-old failed to qualify for the event by a hundredth of a second. So instead, Felix set her sights on gold in the 400-meter dash. She cruised through her preliminary heat Saturday, but came up short in Monday night’s final.

“I’m just a competitor. I love to win. I love a challenge,” Felix told Yahoo previously. “I have had success before but I think your goals just kind of shift. For me, that’s really what this year is about.”

Felix is still motivated by coming up short in the past. In Athens in 2004 and Beijing in 2008, she placed second in the 200 behind Jamaican Veronica Campbell-Brown. That silver in 2008 still sits with Felix, but she says she is better off for the experience.

“I got a silver medal in 2004 and I waited four years to get another opportunity. I waited for that moment for so long and then I got another silver medal to the same exact person,” she said. “I felt like the expectation was that I would win. I felt like I was the favorite going into it, and so there was there was no consoling me after that. It was not a good moment.

“Now looking back at it, I can kind of see it prepared me for future success. And I learned a lot from it, so I can be grateful for some of the biggest defeats.”

Those defeats are why Felix calls her 200-meter triumph in London the “proudest moment” of her career. To Felix, that gold medal symbolizes everything she had experienced to that point in her career.

“It represents the journey to get there,” Felix said. “It was a lot of ups and downs. Two silver medals. It represented the moments that were not so great. I’m super proud of the work that it took to get there and I think it’s a very real thing because success doesn’t come overnight. You have to go through these high moments and these low moments to get what you want.

“That moment was special.”

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