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'By God's Grace': Allyson Felix Sets U.S. Track & Field Record with 11th Olympic Medal

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Allyson Felix has just surpassed the U.S. track and field record for most Olympic medals - the record held by track star Carl Lewis - winning her 11th Olympic medal on Saturday morning in the women's 4x400m relay. 

Of the 11 medals Felix has won, seven are gold. During Saturday's race, she received the baton from 400m hurdles world record holder and gold medalist Sydney McLaughlin who then handed it off to Dalilah Muhammad and finally to Athing Mu for the anchor lap.

The four U.S. women's track stars won the gold medal, beating their closest competition by a whopping four seconds, finishing the relay in 3 minutes, 16.85 seconds for the fourth-fastest time ever.

Heading into Tokyo, Felix was already one of the top female Olympians in track and field history with nine medals, including six gold and three silver. Friday she earned a bronze in the 400m race to tie Lewis' record. Now she's become the most decorated U.S. track and field Olympian ever, and she's been giving God the glory throughout the process.

This has been the fifth Olympic appearance for the now 35-year-old mom, who gave birth to her daughter by emergency C-section in 2018, and she says this will be her last Olympics. But in an Instagram post, Felix wrote that she is thankful for the opportunities granted by God.

"It might sound cliché, but getting to that starting line is an incredible victory for me. I've experienced the hardest years of my life in this journey and by God's grace I'm here. With a heart full of gratitude I'm taking space to remember all it took to get here."

A devout Christian, she has said that faith is a critical component in her life.

"I grew up in a very strong Christian home," she tells Athletes in Action. "Our family was very involved in our church. I am so blessed to have my family and the upbringing that I did. It means so much to me to have two very godly parents who both have so much wisdom. They are amazing role models that I have had the privilege to watch as I grew up." 

Felix noted that her relationship with God developed at an early age. She encountered difficult moments throughout her youth, but was thankful for God's endless love that would see her through. 

"I came to know Jesus Christ as my personal Savior at a very young age. Ever since then, I have continually been striving to grow in my relationship with God," she said. "I was nowhere close to the perfect child. I had my share of difficult times along with some disappointing choices that I made, but thankfully God never stops loving me."

She started running her freshmen year of high school, which is considered a late start. Even so, Felix has seen unprecedented success.

"I feel so blessed that God has given me the talent of running. My running is an amazing gift from God and I want to use it to the best of my ability to glorify Him." 

She added, "I'm currently a work in progress and like anyone else I face struggles every day. My goal is to be more Christ-like each and every day and that is not an easy task. I know that I'm trying to be something different from (other Olympic runners) and after I run I hope that people can distinguish (Christ-like) character in the way I present myself."

Felix is married to Kenneth Ferguson, who was also a sprinter and hurdler, and she has a daughter named Camryn. 

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