Thursday, August 9, 2012

Congrats Allyson Felix: Finally Golden!!

I’m so happy for Allyson Felix. Somebody that I’ve watched for 11-12 years has grown up into a gold medalist! The two-time silver medalist finally won her signature event, the 200 meters and all I can think about is how great she has been.

I remember hearing about her my senior year of HS in 2002. She brought a lot of attention to our sister school, Los Angeles Baptist. Quite a few of my elementary school friends went there so I was happy to see their school get national attention. When I graduated, she won the 100 and 200 meters at the state meet.  Next year, she’d repeat in both for her 4th and 5th state title, shattering Marion Jones’ national record in the 200 meters.

I was so excited to see her at the 2004 Olympics and when she won silver, I figured it was a matter of time before she got gold. Every race she ran, I saw her with pride because she was representing the small school I almost attended.

(The irony of watching her race yesterday was Mom telling my sister and I how close we were to going there. I remember discussing carpools with old friends too but we got convinced to attend my alma mater, West LA Baptist. )

(New York Times Photo)
2008 came around and I felt this was Allyson’s year at the Games. It was ironic that I also got back in touch with an old friend from elementary school who went to LAB. As we caught up, she told me that she ran track with Allyson in HS and both were still close friends. It gave me more motivation to watch the race but once again, she played the bridesmaid to Veronica Campbell-Brown.

Allyson still won gold in the 4 x 400 relay in Beijing but it felt like something was missing. She had her degree from USC in elementary education and was still an elite sprinter but that sterling resume was missing that individual cherry.

Now, four years later, she finally got that gold. As the commentators mentioned watching her since LA Baptist, I beamed with pride knowing the folks who walked the same hallways as her. I thought of my 6th grade class and as Mom and my sister watched, we felt like we were watching one of our own. I messaged my friend on Facebook and she immediately responded with the joy I expected her to. 

The best apart about Felix?? Her personality matches her running style. Smooth, humble, low maintenance. She wasn’t giddy or excited when she won. She was grateful and appreciative. I loved that. She’s represented her sport and her faith very well and I know she’ll continue to impact lives as she grows.

Even though LAB and my alma mater West LAB no longer exist in their old form, her success has directly connected me to an old friend and indirectly reminded me of others. For that, I am grateful to have watched her grow up the last decade and fulfill the expectations placed on her since she was a sophomore.

After 8 World track gold medals (including 3-peats in the 200 and 4 x 400 relay), she’s finally won her best event at the Olympics. Congrats to one of the greatest sprinters of her generation and best believe I’ll be watching to see if she adds to her haul in both relays this weekend!

(Quick shout out to fellow SoCal product, Carmelita Jeter. The pride of Bishop Montgomery High School in Torrance and older sister of NBA hooper Eugene "Pooh" Jeter became the first woman since Florence Griffith-Joyner to medal in both the 100/200 - technically Marion Jones' double win from 2000 doesn't count anymore)

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