Allyson Felix Gave Her Shoes to English Gardner for 4x100m Gold Medal Race | NBC Chicago
2016 Rio Olympic Games

2016 Rio Olympic Games

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Allyson Felix Gave Her Shoes to English Gardner for 4x100m Gold Medal Race

After Gardner looked in her bag and saw only one spike, she calmly told a coach she was missing a shoe

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    Before Allyson Felix passed the baton to English Gardner in the women's 4 x 100-meter relay final on Aug. 19, she handed her an extra pair of shoes.

    Veteran U.S. track star Allyson Felix helped her team achieve gold by sharing a pair of her fluorescent yellow Nike shoes with teammate English Gardner. 

    Before the women crossed the finish line in 41.01 seconds, the second fastest time in history, getting out on the track was its own challenge.

    English Gardner, who ran the third leg of the race, told "Today's" Sheinelle Jones that when she looked in her bag just before the final race, she saw only one spike. With just 10 minutes before the race start time, Gardner calmly told a coach she was missing a shoe.

    "I’m normally not a person to forget my shoes. That’s kind of like, you know, a soldier showing up to a war without his guns," Gardner, who hails from New Jersey, said.

    "Once again, Allyson, like the vet she is, pulled out an extra pair of shoes," she said. "Definitely was a half size too big but there’s nothing that double socks couldn’t fix."

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    The missing shoe was the team's second setback on the path to winning a second straight Olympic title in the relay. 

    The women overcame a disqualification in the preliminary race after Felix dropped the baton on Thursday. The disqualification was overturned on appeal when officials ruled that a Brazilian runner had bumped Felix's arm. Felix was visibly upset after dropping the baton but pulled herself together and told Gardner to take the baton and just run to make sure Team USA finished the preliminary race, enabling the appeal process. 

    The team was determined to defend their gold medal once the appeal ruled in their favor. They ran another preliminary race by themselves to qualify for the final by time. 

    "It’s amazing," Gardner said of winning her first Olympic gold medal. "The feeling is definitely something I wished and dreamed for since I was a little girl. This was a dream since I was 9-years-old." 

    Felix told Gardner she could keep the size eight shoes after she earned a gold medal in them, according to USA Track and Field. The shoes will surely help Gardner remember those golden childhood dreams.

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