USC

USC Renames Its Track and Field Home After Olympic Star Allyson Felix

USC dedicates and renames its track and field home after decorated American track athlete and alumna, Allyson Felix.

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The University of Southern California officially dedicated and renamed its track and field home after Allyson Felix, the most decorated American track athlete in Olympic history Monday.

Her alma mater, USC announced in January that it would be officially renaming their track and field home after the track star.

"I hope that students, athletes come to this field and they come at the beginning of their journey and they experience something like I did -- getting a foundation, being prepared to face the world," Felix said at the unveiling ceremony.

The field, which sits at the center of Katherine B. Loker Track Stadium, will be formally dedicated this spring, USC said. Campus officials said the field serves as a hub for the men's and women's track teams and also groups such as the ROTC, the Trojan Marching Band and other recreational sports.

"That is my hope for all who will come onto this field. I know there will be greatness and excellence daily here, and I just feel so proud to just be a tiny, tiny part of that… I am truly, truly humbled," Felix said.

Felix, who competed in 100-meter, 200-meter and 400-meter races in five Olympics between 2004 and 2020, won seven gold medals, three silvers and a bronze -- winning at least one medal in each of the five Olympiads.

She capped her Olympic career at the 2020 Tokyo games -- held in 2021 because of the coronavirus pandemic -- at age 34 by winning a bronze medal in the 400 meters and a gold in the 4 x 400 meter team competition.

Her 11th and final Olympic medal, in the 4 x 400, broke her tie with Carl Lewis and made her the most decorated American track and field athlete.

Felix is also the most decorated athlete in the World Championships, with 20 medals between 2005 and 2022, including 14 golds, three silvers and three bronzes. The medals include seven from individual events and 13 from team relays.

"We're incredibly honored and excited to recognize one of our greatest ambassadors and the most decorated U.S. track and field athlete of all time,'' USC Athletic Director Mike Bohn said.

Felix has also been a prominent advocate for women and athletes of color -- prominently in regard to contract negotiations. She broke with her onetime sponsor, Nike, after she said the company declined to provide adequate maternity benefits and salary guarantees as Felix looked to start a family in 2018.

Paula Cannon, an associate professor of microbiology at the Keck School of Medicine of USC who led the naming committee for the university, called Felix "the ultimate Trojan.''

"She graduated with a degree from Rossier, crushed it at multiple Olympics and international competitions, and bravely stood up for what she knew was right when her employer did not,'' Cannon said.

"It will be so wonderful that the field she walked around as a little girl from the neighborhood will be named in her honor.''

Felix continues to encourage fellow Trojans to speak up on issues they believe in.

"I'm by nature a more reserved, shy person,'' she said. "I don't usually want to rock the boat. But it was my brother who said, 'You know you can use your voice, even if it shakes,' and that really resonated with me.''

Felix also received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from USC last year, when she delivered the commencement speech.

Felix, now retired from track and field, said naming the field after her is particularly special because such honors are usually reserved for major financial donors.

"To have discussions about the renaming [of the track because of my character, my integrity, and for fighting for women is something that doesn't happen,'' she said. "It just really shows what USC values. I feel proud of the things that I've stood for, and it makes me proud to be an alumna because of the direction that the school is going.''

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