Allyson Felix cements legacy as one of the best track and field Olympians of all time with bronze in Tokyo
The 35-year-old sprinter tied fellow American Carl Lewis with 10 medals in athletics after finishing third in the women’s 400m on Day 14.
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Coming into Tokyo 2020, U.S. sprinting legend Allyson Felix knew it would be her last Olympics.
Going into the games, Felix was already one of the most decorated women track athletes in the history of the sport with nine Olympic medals.
They came over the span of four Olympic games, starting at Athens in 2004 when Felix won a silver in the women’s 200m final at 18 years old. She followed it up in 2008 with another silver in Beijing’s 200m final and added a gold to the mix by joining Team USA’s women’s 4x100m relay team.
At 2012’s London Games, Felix was in her prime and took gold in four of five of the events in which she competed — the 200m, the 4x100m relay and 4x400m relay.
In Rio 2016, the team dominance continued as part of the same 4x100m and 4x400m squads, but she also added a silver in the women’s 400m final.
The latter was the first of two she will participate in at the Tokyo Olympics, and a bronze medal took her career Olympic medal tally to 10. By hitting double-digits, Felix not only ties men’s American track legend Carl Lewis in total medal count, but also becomes the most decorated woman in Olympic track and field history.
She is also only the third track and field athlete to ever win 10 or more Olympic track and field medals, joining Lewis and Finnish long and middle-distance legend Paavo Nurmi.
Felix will run to become the most decorated American track athlete in history as part of the women's 4x400m relay team.
Elsewhere in track and field for Team USA, the women’s 4x100m relay team took home silver and Rio silver medalist in the men’s 5000m Paul Chelimo, is taking home a bronze from Tokyo.
Beyond Felix, history was also made for Team USA in men’s kata, as Cuban-born, American-raised Ariel Torres became the first American karateka in history to win an Olympic karate medal. He’s taking home a bronze after scoring higher than Venezuela’s Antonio Diaz in a third-place matchup.
For Torres, not only does the victory mean he can finally change out of his lucky Tokyo 2020 underwear (as he told USA Today), but he’s also reached the peak of a sport that’s been his reality ever since coming to the U.S.
He did so when he was four years old from Cuba, and picked up karate two years after as a healthier way to channel his energy. Due to his family’s lack of funds, Torres would often walk to local competitions and would later pay out of his own pocket to go to nationwide and international meets to boost his ranking.
When asked what he would do with the $15,000 bronze medal prize money, Torres said it would all go back to his family, which supported throughout his entire journey.
“It's for them because I wouldn't be here without them,” he told USA Today.
More wrestling hardware also came Team USA’s way in men’s 125kg freestyle as Gable Steveson defeated world champion Geno Petriashvili from Georgia with a last-second takedown to seal the gold medal.
With 6.5 seconds remaining, Steveson faced a 8-5 deficit and scored a two-point takedown to cut the Georgian’s lead to one. The pair faced off one last time at the center of the mat and Petriashvili failed to escape yet another Steveson takedown before the match’s end.
Wrestler Kyle Dake also won a bronze after dominating Italy’s Frank Chamizo 5-0 in a 74kg freestyle third-place match.
Beach Volleyball gold, indoor revenge
In beach volleyball, the gold medal void left by legends Kerri Walsh-Jennings and Misty May-Treanor in Rio was reclaimed in Tokyo by the American pair of April Ross and Alix Klineman, who beat Australia in two straight sets.
Now Ross and Klineman must match that performance in two more future Olympic Games to catch May-Treanor and Walsh-Jennings, widely considered the greatest beach volleyball team in history.
Coming off the beach and into the gym, Team USA women’s volleyball also avenged its 2016 semifinal loss to Serbia by winning in three straight sets in Tokyo’s semifinals to move on to the gold medal match. The team will now face an up-to-the-challenge Brazil, which saw off South Korea in equally dominant fashion in its semifinal match.
In boxing, Team USA’s Keyshawn Davis won his semifinal bout over Armenia’s Hovhannes Bachkov to move on to a gold medal showdown with Cuba’s Andy Cruz.
Cruz and Davis have some major recent history, with the former beating the latter in their previous two matchups in the finals of both the 2019 Pan American Games in Lima, Peru, and that year’s World Championships in Yekaterinburg, Russia.
Davis will hope the third time’s the charm as he faces off against Cruz for gold in Tokyo.
On the Cuban side of things, beyond Cruz, heavyweight boxer Julio César La Cruz is taking home his second straight Olympic gold medal in his weight class after beating Muslim Gadzhimagomedov of the Russian Olympic Committee in the final.
La Cruz is also a four-time world champion, winning gold at the 2011, 2013, 2015 and 2017 competitions.
In addition to Felix’s history in the women’s 400m final, the woman finishing ahead of her also wrote her own name in her country’s history books.
The Dominican Republic’s Marileidy Paulino took home silver with a time of 49.20. Not only is she the country’s first woman Olympic track and field medalist, but her time was also a record in the women’s 400m for the Dominican Republic.
Outside of the track and field stadium, Sandra Arenas made more Colombian Olympic history by finishing second in the women’s 20km walk final. With the silver, Arenas is the first Colombian and South American (male or female) to ever medal in an Olympic walking competition.