Quest for 200 gold pushes Felix into 100

AFP-JIJI

Allyson Felix, hungry for Olympic gold at 200 meters after back-to-back silver medals, will skip defending her U.S. 400-meter crown to attempt a 100-200 double at the U.S. Olympic Trials.

And while the 26-year-old sprinter would love to pull off the double at the London Olympics in August, she dropped the 400 and is focusing on the 100 only as ways to improve her chances of finally taking an elusive 200 Olympic title.

“It’s all about the 200 and whatever puts me in the best position to go for a gold medal in the 200,” Felix said Thursday.

“Deciding what events to do is all about the 200. It was all about what was going to set me up for running the best 200. Running the 100 helps my 200.”

Reigning 200 world champion Veronica Campbell-Brown of Jamaica won the 2004 and 2008 Olympic 200-meter titles, but runnerup efforts have not left Felix bitter.

“I still love the Olympics,” she said. “The way it has worked out I’ve just been flat outrun at the Olympics. It still excites me. It’s still my dream to get it done and I think it’s very possible.”

The five fastest women in the world this year at 200 meters are all American runners, led by Sanya Richards-Ross at 22.09 seconds and Kimberlyn Duncan’s wind-aided 22.19, with Felix third in 22.23 from a Diamond League win at Eugene on June 2.

Only the top three in the June 30 final will qualify for the Olympics.

“It’s cool to see people stepping up. It brings on excitement,” Felix said. “I’ve been doing this a long time. I have experience. I’m very comfortable. I know what I have to do.”

The 100 will be contested Friday and Saturday, with Felix hoping to secure her spot in London ahead of her specialty event.

Felix ranks third in the world this year in the 100 at 10.92 with a victory last month at Doha where she was .02 ahead of Campbell-Brown’s season best.

“I hope to be competitive,” Felix said. “The 100 would be icing on the cake. It’s all about me being prepared for the 200, whatever is the best for me there. This is the best possible combination for me.

“The 100 keeps my sprinting where it needs to be for the 200 so it works out very well. It warms my legs up, gets my legs moving in the right way.”

Felix, a five-time U.S. champion and three-time world champion in the 200, was third at last year’s worlds in the 200 in Daegu, South Korea, when she also ran the 400, where she was second.

“Daegu helped me see,” Felix said. “The 400 takes a lot out of your legs. The 100 helps me. It keeps my legs turning over.”