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'They want to see the medal': Felix toting gold

Friday - 8/10/2012, 6:19pm  ET

By HOWARD FENDRICH
AP Sports Writer

LONDON (AP) - Allyson Felix reached into her purse and pulled out a black box that she opened gingerly, revealing the Olympic gold medal from the 200 meters she worried might never be hers.

Now it is.

"No one wants to just see me anymore. They want to see the medal," the American sprinter said in an interview with The Associated Press on Friday, several hours before heading to Olympic Stadium and winning a second gold with a world record in the 4x100-meter relay.

Felix knows exactly where her new prizes will reside once she gets back to California: her parents' home, where all her other medals are, including the two silvers from the 200 in Athens and Beijing.

"They like to brag," Felix said, chuckling and rolling her eyes. "And when people come over, (the medals) somehow fall into their laps. They have fun with that stuff."

If all goes to plan, Felix will be able to add to the collection at Mom and Dad's place. That's because she will get a shot at a third 2012 gold in the 4x400 relay on Saturday _ and because Felix figures she has one more Summer Games in her.

She's also sure she can continue to improve.

What's far too soon to tell: whether she'll try a 100-200 or 200-400 double in Rio de Janeiro four years from now.

Felix thinks she can "be in the mix" for the 100 and has "potential" for the 400, too.

"I don't know which way it'll go, but the 100 is kind of where my heart is," said Felix, who was fifth in the dash final last Saturday.

"I still think I can go faster," she said.

What she's thrilled about for now is finally getting the gold she always wanted.

According to USA Track and Field, Felix is the most decorated woman in 200-meter history, with seven Olympic and world championship medals at the distance _ four of them gold.

Until Wednesday's victory, though, the golds all had come at world championships.

She grew concerned about whether it would ever happen at an Olympics.

"I definitely got discouraged, frustrated along the way to trying to get this gold medal. I felt like I was so close so many times and so good in the off-years, and you just kind of wonder why everything doesn't come together at the right time," Felix said. "I definitely had days where I wondered: Would I ever get to this moment?"

With that gold comes a fresh opportunity to try to help increase track and field's profile in the U.S.

Felix accepts that role.

"The sport is doing OK in the States. Obviously, we're competing against other sports we really don't have a shot with. I would love for it to be on the forefront in America, but where we're at right now, we're not there," Felix said. "I do feel a responsibility to try to do the most that I can do to try to propel it, but it's just kind of where it is now."

One athlete she believes will help boost track and field's appeal is Usain Bolt, the sprinter who is the only man with golds from the 100 and 200 at two Olympics.

Felix watched on TV as Bolt won the 200 on Thursday in 19.32 seconds, a night after she ran 21.88.

"To see what he's doing and the way that he's doing it, with his personality, it's fascinating to watch," she said.

"It's hard to argue that he isn't a 'living legend,'" Felix continued, echoing the phrase Bolt uses to describe himself. "I mean, the things that he's doing, and the times that he's running, it would be very hard to say that he isn't. He definitely puts on a show."

As impressed as she is by Bolt's running, she enjoys his pre- and postrace antics, too.

The royal wave he debuted Thursday. The kidding around with Olympics volunteers before settling into the starting blocks. The five pushups he did after winning the 200 _ one for each of his Olympic golds. The way he grabbed a camera from a photographer and snapped photos.

No way Felix could do that sort of thing.

"Any little thing puts me off. I'm just amazed and want to know how can he be everywhere and still get the job done. But he's just that good," she said. "For me, right before a race, I have to be tuned in to what I'm doing. I have to be going through the race in my mind. I have to be dialed in to what I have to be doing here and here and here. That's where my focus is. I can't imagine dancing around and still being able to do that. But he gets it done."

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Follow Howard Fendrich on Twitter at http://twitter.com/HowardFendrich


(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)