Who was the best female track and field star in the world in 2012?
Representatives from the International Association of Athletics Federations believe that title belongs to one of three women: Valerie Adams of New Zealand, Jessica Ennis of Great Britain or Allyson Felix of the United States.
I believe the female “World Athlete of the Year Award” belongs to Felix. Each of the three women on the list are certainly deserving of making the final list, as each won gold medals at the 2012 Olympic Games. Ennis won her first gold medal in the heptathlon, while Adams earned her second gold medal in the shot put event. Originally, Adams believed she had won silver until Belarussian Nadzeya Ostapchuk was disqualified for a failed drug test.
Ennis and Adams each turned in impressive accomplishments, but only Felix had to finish second twice in previous Olympic Games before earning gold in her third Olympic Games.
In London, Felix won three gold medals, two of which came in relays when she participated on the 4×100-meter relay and the 4×400-meter relay. The third medal, which was perhaps the most impressive, came in the 200-meter sprint.
When she was just 18, Felix competed at the 204 Olympic Games and finished second in the same event behind Jamaican Veronica Campbell. In 2008, Felix returned to the Olympics to compete in the same event and found herself in the same position — second to the woman now known as Veronica Campbell-Brown. The 2011 World Championships brought a similar result — Felix finished third behind Campbell-Brown and American teammate Carmelita Jeter.
After so many defeats at the hand of Campbell-Brown, it would have been easy for Felix to give up and move on. Instead, the 26-year-old sprinter stuck with it and ultimately persevered at the 2012 Games.
Felix’s athletic accomplishments in 2012 are impressive enough, but when you consider her mental fortitude in accomplishing her goals, her individual gold medal becomes that much more meaningful. She’s already been awarded the USOCs “Sportswoman of the Year” award, and next she deserves the award from the IAAF.
Read more from this author: Allyson Felix Set to Train Through the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro
Sandra Johnson is a longtime fan of Olympic sports. While working for the United States Olympic Committee and living in the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo., Johnson had the opportunity to immerse herself in the Olympic Movement. Follow her on Twitter: @SandraJohnson46