I / London August 11, 2012, 11:55 IST
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, several hours before heading to the 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, 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 is 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 US, and Felix accepts that role.
"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," she said.
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.