“On your marks...get set...GO!” the starting pistol goes off.
This would be the sound that sparks the beginning of making history for Allyson Felix and Jasmine Camacho-Quinn at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Jasmine Camacho-Quinn broke an Olympic record and made history for Puerto Rico this Olympics. In Tokyo, Camacho-Quinn took the Women's 100-meter Hurdles semifinal by storm and beating Kendra Harrison of the United States, setting a new Olympic record of 12.26 seconds. After failing to qualify in 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Camacho-Quinn had a lot to prove; but did not disappoint this time around. This great feat won her gold in the race and the first gold medal in Track and Field for Puerto Rico.
Though born in South Carolina, Jasmine Camacho-Quinn decided to compete for Puerto Rico, as her mother had been born there and wanted to represent her heritage. Sparking debate over her nationality and the relationship between the United States and Puerto Rico, Camacho-Quinn stood above it all and gave her best performance yet. Not only is Camacho-Quinn representing Puerto Rico, but she is also representing the many Black Puerto Ricans. Proudly donning the Puerto Rican flag after her win and the national flower, the hibiscus, in her hair at the medal ceremony, Jasmine Camacho-Quinn is an inspiration to all Afro-Latinx people and will go down in the history books.
In Tokyo, Allyson Felix was already a seasoned athlete with 9 Olympic medals under her belt. Only this time around, she entered her fifth Olympics as a new mother. However, motherhood did not slow her down from accomplishing her goals and soon becoming the most decorated Track and Field athlete in United States history during the 2020 Olympics.
Allyson Felix qualified for the 400-meter event with her fastest time of 50.02 seconds since 2017, but shortly beat that time for the same event during the Olympics with 49.46. This won Felix a bronze medal, adding up to her 10th Olympic medal. With her 10th medal, Felix was tied with Carl Lewis, who was at the time the most decorated American Track and Field athlete. The next race Felix would compete in would be the 4x400-meter Relay with Sydney McLaughlin, Dalilah Muhammad, and Athing Mu. Supporting one another and pushing themselves to the best of their ability guided this dream team directly gold; and with that, Allyson Felix walked away with her 11th medal and the title as: “The Most Decorated American Track and Field Athlete in Olympic History”.
Following her successful Olympic experience, Felix has mentioned that she intends to retire before the Paris Olympics in 2024.
Jasmine Camacho-Quinn and Allyson Felix are a source of inspiration and motivation with tenacity and grit. The first gold medal in Track and Field for Puerto Rico and 11 medals in an Olympic career is no small achievement. Black female Olympians are not only inspiring to those who participate in the sport, but also those in the community. What’s next for Camacho-Quinn and Felix? We know with certainty that they will continue to positively influence the next generations.
Making history one meter at a time by Adriana Uyehara