Allyson Felix: an American hero both transcendent and relatable

  • Thread starter Andrew Lawrence
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Andrew Lawrence

The sprinter met and defied every lofty expectation of her on the way to setting an impossibly high standard of excellence

Of course they called her Chicken Legs. Ninth graders are the worst. Clearly, the girls on Los Angeles Baptist High’s track team were just waiting to pounce on Allyson Felix, all stems and a cheeseburger shy of skinny back then. A nickname like that makes clear she was more eggbeater than world beater, nobody’s standout sprinter. But it didn’t take her long to turn that insult into an aspiration.

Here’s the thing about chickens: they’re hard as hell to catch. (Rocky could barely pin one down in a dirt alley, remember?) Once Felix started breezing through 270lbs deadlifts at age 14 before going on to replace Marion Jones in the California high school record books, there was no more belittling this rare athlete. There was only watching her run so fast and far from all who dared doubt her that you could halfway think she was flying.

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