Allyson Felix broke many Jamaican hearts by winning the women’s 200m, but in doing so the American became only the second woman in any sport in Olympic history to win an individual event for the first time after winning two silver medals in the same event.
Ryoko Tani of Japan had done that in judo in the 48kg class, by winning gold in 2000 and 2004, after silver medals in Barcelona and Atlanta.
The 26-year-old Felix broke the Jamaican stranglehold in the event, to be the first American to win it since Gwen Torrence in Barcelona.
It was no surprise as she does has a better head-to-head record against Veronica Campbell-Brown, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and Carmelita Jeter.
Jeter was gracious enough to say: “Allyson is a very sweet person. She has been the bridesmaid too many times and she finally had to be the bride.”
On her part, Felix said: “It has been a long time coming. Before the race, I just reflected on the journey I have taken. I thought back to Beijing, and seeing my family at the end of the race and breaking down. Tonight I saw them, and I was just completely happy. Crossing the line was just a flood of emotions.”
Being drawn on lane seven suited Felix.
“Inside lanes are tougher for me with my long legs. So, I was glad to be there. I knew there was a lot of speed behind me, so I focused on getting out the best I could and kept pushing. I didn’t have any idea where anyone else was. I was in the zone,” she said.
For all appearances, Felix has a rather smooth running style, but said it was quite deceptive for the spectators.
“My running style is a gift and a curse. It looks very fluent and it is nice, but sometimes you have to go into aggressive mode. When people look at me it looks like I am floating and going slow,” she said.
After swallowing the bitter pill and losing to Campbell-Brown in Athens and Beijing, the victory was so much sweeter for the American.
“To lose to her twice in an Olympic Games has been tough. She is not a horrible person, so, it is hard to hate her or anything like that. But when we are in a race we do push each other,” she said.
Campbell-Brown said: “We have been racing each other for years. I am happy for her. I knew how bad she wanted it.”
The 400m champion Sanya Richads-Ross was happy for Felix too. “She has had a wonderful season and definitely deserved this moment and I am happy for her,” she said.
Felix’s win brought some pride back to American sprinting, decimated as it was at the last Games.
It was a terrific performance by Felix though she could not better her personal best of 21.69 seconds, clocked in Eugene last June. That was the sixth best on the all-time chart. Only Florence Griffith Joyner (21.34), Marion Jones and Merlene Ottey have clocked better.