Allyson Felix helped the United States through to the 4×400 metres relay final in a surprise return to Hayward Field on Saturday, days after running what was supposed to be her farewell race at the World Championships.
The seven-time Olympic gold medallist hopped back on a plane to Eugene, Oregon, after she was called up to the preliminary round of the women’s event, following her bronze-medal performance in the mixed relay last week.
The 36-year-old, who collected her first Olympic medal 18 years ago in Athens, padded her team’s lead on the second lap as the United States finished with the fastest time of the heats (3:23.38) and Great Britain took second.
“I was at Halloween’s cafe, one of my favourite cheat-meal restaurants,” she revealed about when she took the call to come back. “I was having hot wings and a root beer float, and I was just diving into that when I got a phone call.
“They just asked if I would be willing to come back and run a round and help the team get a position, and so I dropped the wing.”
“To me it is an honour to come here and run in front of a home crowd and help the team,” she added. “That is what it is all about. Bobby (her coach) gave me a couple more workouts and then I jumped on a plane to head back here.”
The United States will aim to secure a third successive worlds gold in Sunday’s final. “I don’t think they’ll need me tomorrow,” Felix told reporters.
France finished with the third qualifying spot in the heat.
Jamaica (3:24.23) established an enormous lead by the halfway mark and won their heat by more than three-and-a-half seconds.
Belgian anchor Camille Laus came from behind down the final straight to sprint home in second ahead of Canada.
A day after collecting silver in the 400m hurdles, Dutch anchor Femke Bol stormed home to keep the Netherlands in contention after a dropped baton but the team were disqualified.
Italy and Switzerland advanced on time.