Someone else, but not Allyson Felix.
She was finally Olympic champion in the 200 meters after winning silver medals behind Jamaica's Veronica Campbell-Brown in 2004 and 2008. Felix said the triumph left her with a flood of emotions, mainly joy and relief, but she looked awash in them after crossing the finish line Wednesday night.
Her hands briefly went in the air. She took two deep breaths. Her face broke into a smile.
Her personality mirrors a running style Felix calls a gift and a curse, so fluid it looks as if she could work harder. When you listened to her parents describe what they felt, in calm, flat voices, it was plain why their 26-year-old daughter greeted the gold medal with what can be described only as control and reserve.
"Now she has that one she has been holding out for," said her mother, Marlean.
When she won her third 200 world title in 2009, Felix told Campbell-Brown she would trade them all for one of the Jamaican's Olympic golds.
"We have been running against each other for years," said Campbell-Brown, fourth this time. "I know how badly she wanted this."
She got it in 21.88 seconds, with two-time 100 champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce of Jamaica second in 22.09 and American Carmelita Jeter third in 22.14.
Felix became the first U.S. woman to win an Olympic sprint title since Gail Devers in 1996. Jeter, the 100 silver medalist last week, was the first U.S. woman to medal in both sprints since Florence Griffith Joyner won them in 1988.
"We come from such a rich legacy and history," Felix said. "To do our part is special."
They did it on a night when U.S. athletes won seven of a possible 12 medals — three gold, two silver, two bronze. Not since getting nine medals in six finals on Aug. 6, 1992, has a U.S. track team had a better Olympic night.
Both Jeter and long jump winner Brittney Reese noted how important those were in the medal-count battle with China, which the U.S. leads 81-77.
"The only thing that mattered with me was to get on the podium and get us some more medals," Jeter said.
Any podium place but the top likely would have left Felix even more devastated than four years ago. She had been delighted with silver in 2004, at 18. She came into the 2008 Beijing Games as the two-time reigning world champion and left sobbing on her mother's shoulder.
"I was heartbroken," she said.
Felix had allowed herself to be pulled in several directions. She dropped everything a month before the 2008 Olympics and made a wearying 72-hour round trip from Europe to Los Angeles to be maid of honor in a friend's wedding. She vowed to be more selfish this time.
Maybe that's why Felix flatly rejected the suggestion she give up her place in the 100 to Jeneba Tarmoh after that dead-heat fiasco at the U.S. trials. Felix may have had little chance for a medal in the 100, but she knew running it would be a key part of winning the 200.
"It was big for me," Felix said. "Going back to the 100 made me more aggressive, and having a personal best encouraged me. I knew that speed would help in the 200."
Felix had tried a 200-400 double at last year's world championships, but winning a silver in the longer race left her too worn out to earn a fourth straight title in the 200. With the same schedule at the Olympics, she and coach Bob Kersee decided the 100 was a better option. After barely making the U.S. team, Felix finished fifth in Saturday's 100 final with the personal-best 10.89.
"When people look at me, it always looks like I'm floating and I'm slow," she said. "I get complacent. I need to just keep digging."
That was the idea Wednesday, when she ran without a real feeling of how the 200 final was unfolding for everyone else. Get away fast, come off the curve hard and dive for the line.
"I feel like I finally executed the race," she said.
Felix could win two more gold medals in relays. She won a relay gold in Beijing. But she lost that 200.
"It was all for a reason," she said. "It kept me motivated and made this moment just very special."
Even if she barely showed it.