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Sharing Personal Bond With Allyson Felix, North Carolina’s JaMeesia Ford Ties Her Idol’s 21-Year-Old Unbroken Record

Published 05/15/2024, 7:11 AM EDT

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In 2022, Allyson Felix may have had her last race but she has rightfully inspired many female athletes on and off the field throughout her 20 years career. One of them is JaMeesia Ford, who has two copper, six bronze, and seven silver medals in high school. The young athlete holds Felix as her idol and now she has emphatically touched a feat of Felix. 

Felix set the U20 record in 2003 for finishing at 22.11 seconds in the US national championships. JaMeesia has been able to lower her personal best from the previous 22.34 which she earned in the Boston NCAA Championships to challenge Felix’s record. Coincidentally, JaMeesia is connected to the legend by an interesting turn of fate.

In a recent post on X, @kemal_e_forde retweeted a post by RoriDunk on superstar freshman JaMeesia Ford, captioning it, “Look at that. She was born in 2005 which was the year that Allyson Felix won her first 200m World Championship Title,” adding , “[she] is likely to be a big factor in our sport for years to come.” The original RoriDunk tweet read, “Superstar freshman JaMeesia Ford achieved one of her most impressive accomplishments to date She tied her idol, Allyson Felix’s U20 200m record 👏.” He added that the future seems to be bright for Carolina’s track and field athletes. 

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JaMeesia also posted a story captioned “#TBT🥺” of when she was young and was posing in front of a shot of Felix mid-action on the track, letting people know how much tying this record with her idol means to her. She registered the feat at the 200m SEC Outdoor Championships in Gainesville, Florida. Ford has also had an impressive run lately.

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The freshman was elevated to No. 2 in World U20 indoor history by clocking 22.36 seconds, and No. 4 all-time collegiate indoor athlete. She was also the first indoor 200m SEC Champion in Gamecock history. Additionally, she claimed titles in the women’s 4×400 and the 200m. It is evident that though Felix has nearly disappeared from the scene, her legacy burns bright in the younger generation.

Allyson Felix takes a break from the spotlight 

Felix is one of the most decorated female Olympians in Track and Field and holds the most US T&F medals of all time with 11 medals that include 7 gold medals. She has also won 20 record championships, the most among men and women in history. Though Felix maintains a private life, she was featured on Time Magazine’s ‘100 Most Influential People’ in 2021. Having said to have inspired an entire generation of female athletes that goes beyond the tracks.

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Besides her professional achievements, Felix was involved in a courageous battle against pregnancy discrimination and negotiations with Nike. This has resulted in significant maternity protection clause changes for female athletes that secure them against the non-disclosure agreements and pay cuts from sponsors during and after pregnancy.

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For most of her life, Felix did not talk about social issues and focused on medals. She said, “You need to make sure you don’t say too much. It has to be this pretty, pretty package. That’s always been in the back of my head,” but she added, “And that’s not real.” It was during her pregnancy when Nike offered a 70% pay cut that Allyson knew it was her time to take a stand. Her absence from the spotlight is also partially because of her entrepreneurial ambitions as she has been founding her sneaker brand Saysh which was born out of distress during her fight against Nike. That continues to tell the tale of Felix’s grit and determination.

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Written by:

Anchal Ahuja

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Anchal Ahuja is a senior Olympic Sports Writer at EssentiallySports. With over 5 years of experience in journalism, Anchal decided to pursue her love for sports and cover various pathways of the Olympics. She actively covers swimming, track and field, and gymnastics.
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Edited by:

Bhujaya Ray Chowdhury