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Felix overcomes injury, doubts to win USATF Athlete of the Week


INDIANAPOLIS — After recording a world-leading mark in the 400 meters and becoming a four-time Olympian, Allyson Felix is USATF Athlete of the Week for the first week of July.

At the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team Trials - Track & Field in Eugene, Oregon, Felix (Los Angeles) finished first in the 400m with a time of 49.68, which now tops the world standings in the event this year.

“It’s been a tough year and it was a relief,” Felix said after the final. “I have put in so much work and to see it all come together when two months ago I was barely walking. To be at this moment is pretty unbelievable.”

She came into the Trials after recovering from an ankle injury. Following the semi-final, where she finished second, Felix said she did not feel like herself. But the next day, Felix raced to a gold medal and a spot on her fourth Olympic team.

“For me, I’m a fighter,” Felix said before the Trials began. “It was going to take a whole lot not to get me here.”

Felix is only the second American woman in history to qualify for the Games in the 100m, 200m and 400m. She is the defending Olympic champion in the 200m and has accumulated 14 gold medals on the Olympic and World Championship stage throughout her career.

She will race again on Friday in the first round of the 200m as she attempts to add another event to her Rio schedule.

“A lot of times you do feel like [Trials is] this bigger thing than even the Olympic Games,” Felix said. “A lot of other people from other countries, they don't have that pressure that you have to go through here. It's the hardest team to make and everything has to click on that specific day.”

Other notable performances of the week include the following:

  • Tianna Bartoletta (Elyria, Ohio) qualified to represent Team USA at the 2016 Olympic Games in the long jump with a 7.02m/23-0.5 leap, while competing in the first round of the 100 meters between jumps. The next day she qualified for the Olympics in another event with a second-place finish in the 100m.

  • Justin Gatlin (Pensacola, Florida) notched the world’s best time of the year in the 100 meters with a 9.83 in the semi-finals. In the final, he finished even faster in 9.80 to earn a spot to compete in Rio de Janeiro.

  • Chaunté Lowe (Atlanta) became a four-time Olympian after winning the high jump with a 2.01m/6-7, the best mark in the world this year. It was her 10th USATF title overall and her eighth outdoor crown.

  • Clare Martin (Newton, Massachusetts) stood on the podium three times at Hershey Youth Outdoors to take home three gold medals. She earned titles in the 17-18 women’s 2000m steeplechase, 800m and 1500m.

  • Brittney Reese (Inglewood, California) broke the Olympic Trials meet record with a world-leading 7.31m/23-11.75 in the long jump to qualify for her second Olympic team.

  • Galen Rupp (Portland, Oregon) won his eighth consecutive USATF 10,000m title en route to another spot on the U.S. Olympic team, after already qualifying in the marathon in February.

Now in its 15th year, USATF’s Athlete of the Week program is designed to recognize outstanding performers at all levels of the sport. USATF names a new honoree each week and features the athlete on Selections are based on top performances and results from the previous week.

2016 Winners: Jan. 13, Garrett Heath; Jan. 20, Donavan Brazier; Jan. 27, Keni Harrison; Feb. 3, Jenn Suhr; Feb. 10, Vashti Cunningham; Feb. 17, Galen Rupp; Feb. 24, John Nunn; March 2, Curtis Beach; March 11, Bill Collins; March 16, Da’mira Allen; March 24, Michelle Carter; March 31, Janet Bawcom; April 8, Maria Michta-Coffey; April 14, Keni Harrison; April 22, LaShawn Merritt; April 28, Courtney Okolo; May 6, Ida Keeling; May 12, Willie Gault; May 18, Marquise Goodwin; June 2, Keni Harrison; June 9, Tia Brooks; June 16, Donavan Brazier; June 23, Sydney McLaughlin; June 30, Tia Jones; July 7, Allyson Felix.

We welcome your nominations!

To nominate an athlete for USATF Athlete of the Week, please send a detailed email about his/her performance to The nomination period closes at 12 p.m. ET every Monday.

Emily Giambalvo

Communications intern

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