EUGENE, Ore. — Allyson Felix won her 19th and final medal in the world championships Friday night — a bronze she took after running the second leg of America's 4x400-meters in the mixed relay that's been touted as the last major race of the 36-year-old's career.
Felix was entered only in the mixed relay after failing to qualify for the worlds in an individual race. The 19th medal, the third bronze over her 10 trips to the championships, extends the record she already held.
Adding to her 11 medals from the Olympics — a record for any American in track and field — she now has an even 30 from her sport's two biggest events.
Elijah Godwin had a slim lead when he passed the baton to Felix, and for the first 200 meters of her last lap around the track, she extended her lead and was running virtually alone in the backstretch. But she faded and was caught by Marileidy Paulino of the eventual gold-medal winners, the Dominican Republic.
Vernon Norwood recaptured the lead on the third leg, but the Domincan's Fiordaliza Cofil overtook American Kennedy Simon on the anchor, and then hurdler Femke Bol of the Netherlands made a huge late charge to win the silver. The Dominican Republic won in 3 minutes, 9.82 seconds, with a margin of 0.08 seconds.
But much like the end of Felix's career, her last big evening on the track was about more than just the race. It was a celebration of a once-in-a-lifetime athlete who came onto the scene as a shy teenager and left as an outspoken advocate for women and moms both in and out of sports.
Google got into the act. A search of her name brought up all her credentials, overlaid by animation of her sprinting across the computer screen followed by the words “Olympian. Mother. Advocate.”
All part of a fitting finale for the mother of 3-year-old Cammy, who said she's looking forward to being “normal,” focusing on her family, and not having to get up for workouts with her famed taskmaster of a coach, Bobby Kersee.
The stands were about two-thirds full for Felix's farewell on the opening night of action at the first worlds to be held in the United States.
Felix's last medal capped off an opening day that also featured heats in the men's 100.
American Fred Kerley, last year's Olympic silver medalist, finished his race in 9.79 seconds — a blazing-fast time for a preliminary round that was only 0.03 off his season high and was 0.01 faster than Italian Marcel Jacobs' victory last year in Tokyo.
All the other big names advanced: Jacobs, Marvin Bracy, Olympic bronze medalist Andre De Grasse, 2011 world champion Yohan Blake and Christian Coleman, who is defending his world title after missing the Olympics because of a suspension related to missed doping tests.
Also advancing was Kenya's Ferdinand Omanyala. The world's seventh-ranked sprinter in 2022 arrived in Eugene only about three hours before race time after dealing with visa issues that have impacted dozens of athletes and coaches trying to make it to America.
One of the day's few surprises came when defending long jump champ Tajay Gayle of Jamaica fouled three times and failed to get out of qualifying.
World record-holder Ryan Crouser and his biggest rival, defending world champion Joe Kovacs, each moved on in shot put.
The meet's first medals came in the 20-kilometer race walk, where Kimberly Garcia won Peru's first-ever medal at the worlds in a time of 1:26:28. Toshikazu Yamanishi of Japan successfully defended his men’s title in 1:19.07.