Allyson Felix delays retirement to help 4×400 relay team to finals

Allyson Felix of Team United States competes in the Women's 4x400m Relay heats on day nine of the World Athletics Championships Oregon22 at Hayward Field on July 23, 2022 in Eugene, Oregon. (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)

Allyson Felix came out of a brief retirement to help the United States qualify for the world championships 4×400-meter relay final.

The 36-year-old returned to Eugene, Oregon, days after securing bronze in the mixed 4×400-meter relay to compete in the preliminaries of the women’s 4×400-meter relay.

“The coaches asked if I was available and there was no way I’d turn the team down,” Felix said via an email to the Associated Press.

Felix posted the fastest one-lap split of the team on Saturday, with the U.S. logging a winning time in qualifying of 3 minutes and 23.38 seconds.

“I was well on my way,” Felix said after the race. “I had no plans to be back here for the rest of the meet. But things happen. I felt good. It was really cool to run when the stadium was full and just get all the love, and run with this amazing group of women. It’s really set the team up to go after the title.”

For now, Felix plans to watch the final from the stands on Sunday, cheering on her teammates. “I was asked to run in the prelim,” Felix said. “It was just about being a team player and putting them in position to run their best.”

Should the U.S. take home the win on Sunday, Felix will earn her 20th world championship medal and 14th gold. The U.S. is dominant in the event, winning seven of the past nine 4×400-meter relay world championship events.