University of Southern California unveiled "Allyson Felix Field" to honor the track and field great in a release Wednesday.
Felix was already running professionally when she enrolled at USC in 2003. She went on to become the most decorated American track and field athlete in Olympic history, earning 11 medals throughout her spectacular career. She received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from USC in May 2022 and concluded her 20-year international career with bronze and gold medals on the U.S. relay teams at the World Athletics Championships in Oregon two months later.
The venue, previously named “Cromwell Field,” sits at the center of Katherine B. Loker Track Stadium, which serves as a hub for the university’s athletic activities. Mainly utilized by the men’s and women’s track teams, it is also open to groups including ROTC, marching band and recreational sports.
— USC Track & Field / XC (@USC_Track_Field) January 18, 2023
"My hope is that students playing on the Allyson Felix Field — or just walking by — will see her name prominently displayed and be curious to learn more about her talent, grit and generosity,” USC President Carol Folt said the release.
Felix, who delivered the 2022 USC commencement address, said in her speech that she was “raised a Trojan,” even though she never competed for the university.
“It’s such a huge honor to be a part of history in the campus, and it’s such a special place for me,” she said in the release.
‘I feel proud of the things that I’ve stood for’
For much of her career, Felix made statements on the track exclusively. In 2018, that changed. She gave birth to her daughter, Cammy, via emergency C-section at 32 weeks due to a severe case of preeclampsia.
In contract negotiations, Felix’s longtime sponsor, Nike, offered her 70% of her previous contract, a deal that would be contingent on her performance post-childbirth.
After the company told Felix to “know her place,” she decided not to carry on business as usual and spoke out about the mistreatment of mothers in track and field. She partnered with active-wear company Athleta to advocate for women’s rights, eventually launched her own brand, Saysh. And she kept winning medals.
She noted that in honoring her as an athlete, USC is showing respect for her identity as an activist and entrepreneur as well.
"It just really shows what USC values. I feel proud of the things that I've stood for, and it makes me proud to be an alumna because of the direction that the school is going," Felix said in the release.
"Allyson Felix Field" will have a formal dedication ceremony in the spring.