Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : December 20th 2015 Contents A56
Sunday Guardian www.guardian.co.tt December 20, 2015
American sprinter Allyson Felix s
training is all geared toward the finish
line in the 200 and 400 metres at the
Rio Olympics. Schedule allowing, she
hopes to be in the starting blocks for
Problem is, those events are sched-
uled to happen 75 minutes apart.
To facilitate Felix s pursuit, USA Track
and Field recently petitioned the gov-
erning body of the sport to amend the
Olympic track programme, which cur-
rently has the 200 preliminaries taking
place just over an hour before the 400
final in Rio on August 15.
That would leave little opportunity
for the six-time Olympic medalist to
She won t be deterred, though,
should the rescheduling not happen.
She still plans on attempting to make
the US squad in both events at the
Olympic Trials in June and go from
"I think she can make the team in
both. I think she s capable of medaling
in both. I think she has a great oppor-
tunity to win gold medals in both," her
longtime coach, Bobby Kersee said in
a phone interview.
"She s very dedicated to it. She s
committed to the challenge."
A change to the schedule is not with-
out precedent, even at this late date.
Michael Johnson campaigned for a
rearrangement of the 200 and 400
events leading up to the 1996 Summer
Games in Atlanta.
The programme was altered, and he
became the first male to win both at
International Olympic Committee
President Thomas Bach said four
months ago that the Olympic track
program remains flexible.
USATF CEO Max Siegel went to bat
for the 30-year-old Felix by contacting
the International Association of Ath-
letics Federations to set the wheels in
motion for a switch.
"Such an achievement would elevate
the sport at the Games, and as a fed-
eration we owe it to her and to the
sport as a whole to make the request,"
Siegel said in a statement.
They re currently in a holding pat-
tern. An email was sent to the IAAF
to determine the next step.
Sebastian Coe, the head of IAAF,
said over the summer that the organ-
isation would be willing investigate
such a schedule change.
Kersee has Felix working as though
this kind of double could take place.
They started training in October, and
Felix will run a limited indoor schedule
this winter to stay race sharp. She may
also compete at the world indoor cham-
pionships in Portland, Oregon, in
"I don t want her to sit around,"
"So we re treating indoors more like
spring training. We re going to perform
a couple of times and shut it down and
get ready for outdoor."
Asked what his ideal timetable would
be for her to reasonably compete in
Rio---two hours? Six hours? A day?---
Kersee didn t commit.
"I m just going through our major
channels---asking the powers that be
to talk to the other powers that be," he
said. "I m a better track coach than
"It s been done before. It s nothing
new. If you look at the history and look
at the schedule, you know what s fair
and you go from there."
This 200-400 undertaking by Felix
has been in the works for the last five
years. Felix tackled the sprint-distance
double at the 2011 world championships
in South Korea, winning silver in the
A few days later, she lacked her cus-
tomary kick and was clearly exhausted
in the 200, her signature event. She
wound up with bronze.
Felix didn t attempt that endeavor
at the 2012 London Games. Instead,
she ran the 100 and the 200, winning
gold in the latter. She also won gold in
She s much stronger now, Kersee
said, pointing to her performance at
worlds last summer in Beijing. Focusing
on the 400, Felix won the event and
then helped the relay teams to silver
medals. Her leg of the 4x400 relay was
"Last season, she was (in her best
shape ever)," Kersee said.
"Barring injury, we can build off of
that. We know we have a task ahead
of us. We re committed to it.
"If we have an athlete that s capable
of maybe wanting to try that, why not
give them the opportunity? That s my
Perry Mason argument." (AP)
US sprinter Allyson Felix...all
geared up toward the finish
line in the 200 and 400 metres
at the Rio Olympics. AP PHOTO
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