Why Allyson Felix Is 'Really Excited for Next Chapter' of Life and Career After 5 Olympics, 11 Medals

"I wanted to make sure that I did everything and I had every obstacle in my way. It made it challenging, but I do feel like I was able to do that," Allyson Felix tells PEOPLE

Allyson Felix, the most decorated American track and field athlete, relished her latest Olympic achievements with a homecoming fit for a GOAT.

Upon arrival home in Los Angeles, Felix, 35, was picked up at the airport by her husband Kenneth Ferguson and later greeted at the front door by their 2½-year-old daughter Cammy as well as Felix's "favorite" meal of catfish, red beans and rice from Harold and Belles.

And it was all well-deserved, as just a few days prior, Felix had gloriously closed a big chapter in her career.

"I feel very fulfilled and at peace," the Olympian told PEOPLE about her final Summer Games, where she completed her historic medal count with 11 total over five Olympics (seven gold, three silver, and one bronze).

Allyson Felix
Allyson Felix. AP Photo/Martin Meissner

"Obviously it was so different because we couldn't really experience everything [due to COVID]. I feel so grateful that we were able to still come. Even though everything has been different, I think that we still saw incredible performances and we've all been inspired all over the place," Felix reflected.

"I feel completely fulfilled to have run that last race. There's nothing I felt I left undone, you know? I feel confident walking away from the Olympics," said the star, who at 35, is the oldest U.S. woman to ever win a track and field gold medal.

Sharing how she has "no regrets" about her final races, Felix said, "I definitely wanted to leave nothing undone. I didn't want to have any regrets because it was my last Games. I wanted to make sure that I did everything and I had every obstacle in my way. It made it challenging, but I do feel like I was able to do that."

And that she did: Felix won gold in her last Olympic race, finishing first in the 4x400m relay with Sydney McLaughlin, Dalilah Muhammad and Athing Mu. Also in Japan, Felix won bronze in the women's 400m.

Allyson Felix

"I put Tokyo at the very top," she ranked Olympic experiences, including the 2004 Athens Games, 2008 Beijing Games, 2012 London Games and 2016 Rio Games. "I say that because I've had so many different experiences, but I feel like this one really represents them all. Overcoming the high moments, the low moments, and just capping it off with me finally coming to the understanding that it's bigger than sport, it's bigger than performances, or medals. It's about impact and representing others."

With her Olympic cleats forever shelved, Felix is focusing on her next dream as the founder of Saysh, her lifestyle brand for women and made by women.

"I'm so excited now through Saysh to continue to have a voice and hopefully continue to have an impact for women. I'm really excited for the next chapter," she said. "I hope I've been a source of inspiration, but more so for things off of the track. Obviously, it's our profession, it's what we love to do. But I think so many of these athletes are capable of also having a lot of impact in really meaningful ways outside of the sport as well."

Allyson Felix

Felix's own influence off of the track is what excites her about her second act as an entrepreneur.

"To come to this fifth Olympic Games, it's been so much bigger than what I've done on the track. I've been able to really feel that and to talk to so many different women. They told me what I've done has meant to them, and that's been really special for me," she said.

"Saysh is all about bringing balance and equality, as far as the gender perspective, to the marketplace. I was led to start Saysh with my brother because of the inequalities that I faced throughout my career," Felix said, referencing Nike, her former sponsor which she said would've paid her 70 percent less than she had earned before she became a mom to daughter Cammy and had little maternity protections.

Allyson Felix of Team USA reacts after winning the bronze medal in the Women's 400m Final
Patrick Smith/Getty Images

"I got to a point where I was four Olympics in and I no longer had a footwear sponsor. I thought, 'This is absolutely crazy. How did I get to this place?' Instead of always asking for the change, we wanted to be that change. So we started Saysh," she explained.

Not only was the Tokyo Games her first Olympics as a mom, but it was also the time Felix had competed in her own brand of shoes.

"Saysh created a running spike for me," she said of the "very feminine, delicate" shoe she wore when she won her 4x400m gold. "Walking into the Olympic Stadium, competing, winning my 11th medal in a shoe that my brand created, I mean, it's pretty indescribable."

Saysh's success is even sweeter for Felix after creating a platform for herself to make the change she wished she saw at the beginning of her Olympic career at age 18.

Specifically following her daughter's birth in 2018, Felix had a hard journey of getting back into an Olympic mindset. "For so long, in my case, I felt like I was told that my story was complete and my best days were behind me," she said. "Then to be able to want to overcome and to push through that, I hope that showed other women that it's possible we have to go with what we believe that we can do and to keep fighting."

The mom of one added, "I've had challenges and I've had struggles, but I also feel like all of those put me exactly where I'm supposed to be. Even though there were hardships, I wouldn't even change them because I feel like I'm in my truth, I'm doing the things that I'm supposed to be doing."

Now, Felix is excited to grow Saysh's impact and repurpose that Olympic drive into mommy mode.

"I'm excited to take a break from it all, and not to have any expectations or any pressures," she said. "I think it's been such a grind and so exhausting. It really excites me to think about just some downtime."

But Felix did admit that the very last race of her competitive career could take place in less than a year.

"Next year we have the world championships in the U.S. and so I'm going to see how that looks," she said about the World Athletics Championships in Eugene, Oregon, in July 2022.

"For the Olympics, I'm definitely done," she assured.

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