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Allyson Felix says faith is reason her triumphs

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Allison Felix is now the most prolific female sprinter in Olympic Games history with seven total medals, including five golds. Photo: Getty Images

Track and field champion Allison Felix attribute five career gold medals to her faith and trust in God

 By EMILY McFARLAN MILLER, Contributing Writer

RIO de JANEIRO (RNS) — Faith in God is why Allison Felix has achieved phenomenal success throughout her career in track and field as one of the sport’s all-time greatest sprinters.

That’s the testimony the six-time Olympic medalist wrote for Beyond the Ultimate, Cru’s sports ministry.

Felix finished second in the 400-meter final for the silver medal after Shaunae Miller of the Bahamas, who took a dive across the finish line, nipped her at the tape. That was hard for Felix to swallow. She fully expected to win her fifth lifetime Olympic gold medal in the race. Still, her seventh medal overall made her the most decorated woman in U.S. track and field history, passing Jackie Joyner-Kersee.

But Felix’ faith hadn’t waned. She earned the fifth gold, Friday as part of the U.S. women’s winning tandem in the 4×100 relay.

Growing up, Felix’s dad was a seminary professor, her family was very involved in their church and she became a Christian at a young age. It wasn’t until she tried out for track as a freshman at Los Angeles Baptist High School that she discovered her talent for running.

Now at 30, running has become a “platform so that I can share my faith with the world,” she said. “God made me fast. And when I run, I feel His pleasure.”

“My running is an amazing gift from God and I want to use it to the best of my ability to glorify Him. You have to have this passion and you have to have a reason for doing what you’re doing. And there really has to be a purpose there, I think that’s what drives success. I know my talent is from God. And that’s my purpose: to run to glorify Him,” Felix wrote for Beyond the Ultimate.

For all the Olympic medals and world records, Felix’s goal still is the same: “to be more Christ-like each and every day.” She still goes to church each Sunday and listens to sermons when she is on the road competing.

But while faith is important to her, it doesn’t necessarily make what she does any easier. She missed qualifying for her favorite event, the 200-meter sprint, after she tore ligaments in her ankle in late April.

“I think a lot of times you want faith to kind of be the answer to everything, and it’s still a struggle to get there, you know?” she said.

“There are very real moments that are hard, but I think that it helps me to be able to learn the lesson that there is a purpose, a reason why maybe that happened, and it can create something in you and it might be preparing you for something better in the future,” Felix said.

Emily McFarlan Miller is a national reporter for Religion News Service based in Chicago. She covers evangelical and mainline Protestant Christianity.

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