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How Olympic Disappointment Re-Ignited Allyson Felix

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Picture this: it’s 2012, and Allyson Felix is walking to the starting line for her signature event, the 200 meter sprint, at the London Olympic Games. To her left and right are seven world-class competitors, including Jamaican runner Veronica Campbell-Brown, the two-time reigning Olympic champ who bested Allyson at both the 2004 and 2008 games.

Twice, Allyson has been left with the bittersweet taste of winning Olympic silver. And now, for the third time in her career, four years of training will be put to the test in a half-lap sprint around the track.

You might think Felix is nervous, but on this mildly warm and humid Wednesday in the summer of 2012, the 26-year-old American approaches her starting blocks with “a sense of peace and calm,” as she tells Kelley O’Hara on the JWS podcast.

This inner tranquility is masked by a warrior-like, furrowed-brow stare aimed down the track, one which only momentarily vanishes into an easy grin when Felix’s name is announced and she waves to the crowd.

To understand where this hidden sense of calm comes from, we need to rewind.

Eight years prior, at the 2004 Olympic games, Felix was one year out of high school and had just foregone a track scholarship to USC in order to turn pro and put all her energy into the 200M Olympic event. Losing out on the gold medal to Campbell-Brown there in Athens was a painful disappointment, but one that was tempered by Felix’s youth, a long career ahead, and plenty of room for improvement.

And improve she did. After Athens, Felix spent the next few years establishing herself as the best 200m runner in the world, beating Campbell-Brown at both the 2005 and 2007 World Championships. And while the rivalry was alive and well heading into the 2008 games, Felix was considered the heavy favorite to take home Olympic gold.

When the race began, Campbell-Brown got out to a fantastic start, and Felix knew she’d have to rely on her best-in-the-world top end speed in order to catch her. But with 20 meters left, Felix began to realize Campbell-Brown was out of reach. And as she crossed the finish line in silver medal position, the totality of what had just happened slowly started sinking in. Felix had spent the past four years training for this specific race, and in less than 22 seconds it had ended in defeat.

As any rational person would, Felix entered a phase of deep reckoning on whether she wanted to continue running.

“I had to look at myself and figure out, am I going to keep doing this?” she tells O’Hara on the podcast. “Can I dissect every piece of my training, my lifting, my nutrition? Where is there space to grow? Am I going to do another four years when nothing is guaranteed? Like, how bad do you want it?”

Luckily for the sporting world, Felix eventually decided she wanted it bad enough.

She entered a new level of sacrifice and precision in everything she did, redeeming herself once again at the 2009 World Championships, where she beat Campbell-Brown to win gold in the 200M.

World Championships are nothing to scoff at, and yet at the time, Felix joked that she would trade all three of hers for an Olympic gold.

She kept working. And come 2012, after four more years of sacrifice, training, injuries, rehab, and a strict dietary regime, Felix now had another chance to win one herself.

Walking to the starting blocks, she knew the calmness she felt had been earned by all the work she had done to prepare.

“Preparation is your confidence. That’s the hardest part. It’s not coming out and running the race. The struggle is in the preparation.”

As Felix tells O’Hara: there was nothing else she could have done.

“Literally, I couldn’t think of anything else to add to the program. Knowing that just gave me a sense of confidence.”

When the starting gun went off, all those years of preparation and sacrifice would prove to be enough, as Felix raced ahead of the pack to secure the one victory that had long evaded her: an Olympic gold medal in the 200 meter sprint (with Campbell-Brown left off the podium).

It’s perhaps the most prized of her now nine Olympic (6 gold, 3 silver) and 18 World Championship medals (13 gold, 3 silver, 2 bronze).

And the pivotal moment that led to her now unmatched glory? That gut-punch loss in Beijing as the Olympic favorite in 2008?

“I was completely devastated,” Felix admits. “But I’ll also say that moment has been the most defining moment of my career.”


In recent years, Felix has gone through new challenges: a contentious departure from Nike and a difficult childbirth and intense recovery with her daughter Camryn. Knowing that for Felix, it’s the pain of hardship that drives her desire to win, we can’t wait to see what she has to offer next as she goes for her fifth Olympic games in Tokyo next summer.

Listen to Allyson Felix’s full conversation with Kelley O’Hara on the Just Women’s Sports podcast here

Cameron Brink likes Caitlin Clark for 2024 WNBA Rookie of the Year

Cameron Brink poses with Caitlin Clark at 2024 wnba draft in new york
Cameron Brink poses with fellow draftee — and possible WNBA ROY —Caitlin Clark. (Photo by Emily Johnson/NBAE via Getty Images)

Cameron Brink already has her rookie of the year pick for the upcoming WNBA season, and it’s Indiana-bound star Caitlin Clark

In the latest edition of Kelley on the Street, host Kelley O'Hara caught up with Brink in New York hours before the Stanford phenom went No. 2 overall to the Los Angeles Sparks at the 2024 WNBA Draft. When O’Hara asked who would win the WNBA's rookie of the year, she answered without pause.

"Caitlin Clark," she said, while a fan commented that she thought Brink would take home the award. Brink later added that the extra foul granted to WNBA players will be "good for me."

"I hope it’s me," Charisma Osborne, who was later drafted by the Phoenix Mercury, said when asked her ROY prediction. "But, I don’t know — we’ll see."

Watch more of Kelley on the Street:

Dash winger Maria Sanchez confirms trade request a day shy of NWSL deadline

María Sanchez of Houston Dash during a NWSL game
In December, Sanchez signed a new three-year contract with the club worth $1.5 million including bonuses and an option year. (Photo by Marcus Ingram/Getty Images)

Maria Sanchez issued a statement on Thursday, confirming recent reports that she has requested a trade from the Houston Dash. 

In it, she revealed that the club has been aware of the request "since late March."

"This has all taken a toll and isn’t an easy thing to talk about, but I want to confirm that I’ve requested an immediate trade," she wrote. "My expectations and reasons have been clear. I trust that my current club’s management will honor my decision in a timely manner and proceed with accepting a trade."

"I’m eager to refocus and dive back into what I love most: playing football," she concluded.

Reports of Sanchez's trade request first surfaced on ESPN last week, and were later confirmed by multiple sources. 

In December of last year, Sanchez signed a three-year contract with the Dash valued at $1.5 million including bonuses and an option year. It was the largest contract in NWSL history at the time — a figure that would be eclipsed by multiple contracts in the following months. 

Sanchez spent the offseason as a restricted free agent, meaning that Houston could match any other team's offer to retain her rights. Should the Dash trade Sanchez, her current contract terms would remain intact, limiting potential buyers to teams able to afford to take on an inking of that size.

The Dash has yet to address the trade, instead reiterating to ESPN that Sanchez is "under contract, a choice she made in free agency at the end of 2023." 

Both the NWSL trade window and transfer window close tonight, April 19th, at 12 a.m. ET. The window will stay closed through the next 11 regular season games, reopening on August 1st, 2024.

Seattle Storm debut state-of-the-art $64 million practice facility

Jewell Loyd #24 of the Seattle Storm during warms up during practice on July 11, 2020 at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida
Jewell Loyd, seen here practicing at Florida's IMG Academy, and her team are in for a major upgrade this season. (Photo by Ned Dishman/NBAE via Getty Images)

The four-time league champion Seattle Storm unveiled their new practice facility on Thursday, with Storm co-owner Lisa Brummel dubbing Interbay's Seattle Storm Center for Basketball Performance the team’s "new home."

"It's just such a special space," Brummel told Fox 13 Seattle. "I think when the players get here, it's gonna be overwhelming."

The sprawling 50,000-square-foot, $64 million property is just the second designated practice facility to be designed and built expressly for a WNBA team, with the Storm further noting that 85% of all design and engineering team members involved in the project's construction were women and people of color. The finished product holds two professional indoor courts, two 3x3 outdoor courts, a state-of-the-art locker room, and players' lounge, plus designated areas for strength and conditioning, kitchen, dining, and nutrition, and recovery. 

"This facility reflects our commitment to providing our athletes an exceptional environment that supports their growth, health, and performance," said Storm co-owner Ginny Gilder in an official team release. "It’s built for women, by women, embodying our dedication to leading the way in professional women’s sports."

For their part, the team can't wait to make the faciilty their own.

"It's amazing," Storm guard Jewell Loyd told Fox 13. "Not having to drive everywhere around, knowing you have access anytime of the day to get into the gym, to workout." 

Head coach Noelle Quinn said she predicts the team is "never going to leave this building."

"Which is a good thing for me," she continued. "You talk about having an edge in performance. We want our athletes to not only perform on the court, but get whatever they need."

All of the Storm's staff and operations will now live under one roof, and the team also has plans to launch a youth basketball program operating out of the building.

Mystics relocate game to accommodate Caitlin Clark fans

Maya Caldwell, Erica Wheeler, and Lexie Hull of the Indiana Fever celebrate Caitlin Clark
Get ready — Caitlin Clark is coming to town. (Photo by Ron Hoskins/NBAE via Getty Images)

The Caitlin Clark effect is quickly making its mark on the big leagues, as WNBA host teams around the country rush to upgrade their Fever games to larger arenas in order to accommodate surging ticket sales.

With Clark mere weeks away from her Indiana Fever debut, both the Las Vegas Aces and Washington Mystics have officially relocated their scheduled home games with head coach Christie Sides' squad. On Thursday, the Mystics became the latest to adjust their plans, moving their June 7th matchup from Entertainment & Sports Arena in Southwest DC to the more centrally located — and much larger — Capital One Arena "due to unprecedented demand."

The Mystics home court's capacity taps out at 4,200, while Capital One Arena — home to the Wizards, Capitals, and Georgetown Hoya's Men's Basketball — can fit nearly five times that crowd at some 20,000 spectators.

"The move to Capital One Arena will allow for additional fans in the stands as well as premium hospitality options, including Suites and the all-new all-inclusive courtside Hennessy Lofts," the team announced via Thursday's press release.

The Aces were one of the first teams to switch venues, aiming to take on the Indiana Fever in front of as many as 20,000 fans inside T-Mobile Arena on July 2nd. That’s a sizable a boost from their home venue, which holds just 12,000.

For those still planning to face the Fever in their home arenas, ticket prices have skyrocketed. Previously scheduled construction has already forced the LA Sparks to relocate their first five games — including their May 24th clash with the Fever — to Long Beach State's Walter Pyramid. The temporary venue is quite the downsize, holding just 4,000 in comparison to Arena's near-19,000. As of Friday, the get-in price for that game started around $400.

Despite fans launching a petition urging relocation, the Chicago Sky say they're unable to move their June 23rd Fever meeting from Wintrust Arena's 10,000-seat facility to the 23,500-seat United Center due to a concert. Tickets for that game start around $325 as of Friday.

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