Whether she is straining every last sinew for the finish line or blazing a trail to ensure better treatment of female athletes everywhere, Allyson Felix has made a career out of fighting.
The 35-year-old elder stateswoman of US track and field brings the curtain down on her 17-year Olympic career in Tokyo, ending an odyssey that began when she competed as a teenage prodigy at the 2004 Athens Games.
Felix’s fifth and final Olympics will almost certainly see her become the most decorated female track and field athlete in the history of the Games.
She is currently tied with Jamaican legend Merlene Ottey with nine medals, a dazzling haul that includes six golds and three silvers.
One more medal in Tokyo — virtually guaranteed given her place in the dominant US women’s 4x400m relay squad — will see her pull clear of Ottey.
If she wins two or more — another possibility given her likely place in the mixed gender 4×400 relay team — she will overtake Carl Lewis as the most decorated American track athlete in history.
It will be a fitting conclusion to the final phase of a career that has seen Felix become accustomed to battling through adversity, on and off the track.
A chaotic, pandemic-disrupted build-up to Tokyo left Felix with nowhere to train at times last year, forcing her to perform improvised sprint workouts on the streets of her neighborhood in suburban Los Angeles.
She booked her place on the US team for Tokyo with a typically gutsy performance at the Olympic trials in Eugene, Oregon in June, digging deep to secure second place with a time of 50.02sec after lagging behind in fourth place heading into the home straight.