Allyson Felix won her 11th career Olympic medal Saturday, combining with her American teammates to finish the 4×400-meter relay in 3 minutes, 16.85 seconds for a runaway victory.
The team of Felix, Sydney McLaughlin, Dalilah Muhammad and Athing Mu was never in jeopardy in this one. Poland finished second, 3.68 seconds behind, and Jamaica finished third.
Felix, who became the most-decorated woman in Olympic track history when she won bronze in the 400 the night before, now passes Carl Lewis with the most track medals of any U.S. athlete. Of the 11 medals, seven are gold.
Paavo Nurmi of Finland holds the all-time mark in track with 12 medals from 1920-28.
The win came on McLaughlin’s 22nd birthday, and gave her another gold to go with the one she captured when she set a world record of 51.46 in the 400-meter hurdles earlier in the week.
The race featured four U.S. medalists — McLaughlin, Felix, Muhammad, who finished second in the hurdles, and Mu, the 19-year-old who won gold in the 800.
It wasn’t so much the win that was in doubt but the world record of 3:15.17, set at the 1988 Seoul Games in the last relay the Soviet Union ran as an Olympic team.
By the time Mu collected the baton from Muhammad for the anchor lap, the record was out of reach. But the win was in the bag.
The four sprinters huddled and hugged. Felix is 35, and has detailed her long struggle simply to make the Tokyo Olympics. Mu turned 19 this summer, and there’s a chance she’ll need a mighty big medals case when it’s all over.