LOS ANGELES: US track and field star Allyson Felix said on Wednesday this summer’s Tokyo Games will be her final Olympics but she has not set a definite date for her retirement.
The 35-year-old sprinter — the only female track and field athlete to win six Olympic gold medals — said that while she could continue racing after Tokyo, she will not be around for the 2024 Paris Olympics.
“I do plan for this to be my final Olympics,” Felix told reporters at the US Olympic and Paralympic Committee’s virtual media summit.
“I don’t know for how much longer than this year I will run. I’m just going to take it as it comes as far as that goes. I don’t see myself doing another Olympics, but I haven’t laid out an end date.”
Felix will be competing in her fifth Olympics in Tokyo, having first raced at the 2004 Athens Games, where she won a silver medal in the 200 meters.
At the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics, Felix won a silver medal in the 400m and golds in the 4x100m and 4x400m relays.
While she has focused on the 400m in the latter part of her career, Felix said Wednesday she plans to enter both the 200m and 400m at the US Olympic Trials in Eugene, Oregon in June.
“I’m just going to see how training unfolds. I would like to participate in both at trials and see the outcome of that,” Felix said. “If I need to focus on one or the other we will make that decision.”
Felix said she had initially struggled to process her disappointment last year when the Olympics were postponed.
“Obviously it was something that had to happen – there was such a loss of life, loss of jobs and loss of normalcy all around and we were really going through it with everyone,” Felix said.
“I had to pivot about thinking how to have that same energy for a whole another year. It was really challenging. But I tried to do my best to use that time to my advantage and just get stronger and better to continue forward.”
Lockdown restrictions in Felix’s hometown of Los Angeles made training during the pandemic challenging.
The 13-time World Championship gold medallist said she and coach Bobby Kersee had been forced to improvise after being denied access to a running track.
“It’s been a constant challenge throughout — we’ve trained on the street, we’ve trained on the beach, we’ve been all over the place,” she said.
“The craziest experience was training in my neighborhood. I’ve gone running in my neighborhood before but never sprinting through the streets.”