Allyson Felix contemplating Olympic double
Allyson Felix would seem to have much to lose by adding a second event to her signature 200 meters at this summer's London Games.
The American sprinter has yet to win Olympic gold in the race in which she is a three-time world champion, and attempting the double could risk fatigue or injury before the 200.
But that's not the mindset that has carried her so far in the sport.
"It's just knowing you have potential in another area as well and wanting to see that potential fulfilled and wanting to step up to a challenge," Felix said Thursday. "You can always go with the safe bet. But lots of times, athletes -- they want to go for it. I think that's the case for me."
Still, Felix and coach Bobby Kersee are approaching the planning cautiously, weighing the temptation of running the 100 or the 400 against the potential impact on the 200.
"The 200 -- that's my most important thing," Felix said. "The decision has just been, 'What's going to put me in the best situation to be able to be at my best then?' "
If only the 100 or the 400 took place after the 200. But that's not the case, and the schedule is tight in London.
The 100 final is Aug. 4, which would at least give Felix a day off before qualifying heats begin for the 200 on Aug. 6. The 400 final is Aug. 5, making for no break before the 200.
Felix believes either turnaround would be doable.
"For me, I like the challenge of doing two," she said. "I'm a very competitive person. I've done the 200 for quite a while just alone. So it's about just growing as an athlete, being stronger, able to handle more. It just makes the double more exciting."
Felix ran the 400 at last year's world championships and proved she's a title contender at that distance, winning a silver medal. But in the 200, in which she was the three-time defending champ, she was unable to finish strong and settled for bronze.
Felix will race the 100 on Saturday at the Adidas Grand Prix in New York City, facing a field that could be a preview of the final in London with world champion Carmelita Jeter and Olympic gold medalist Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce. Felix's personal best of 10.92 seconds is 0.19 slower than Fraser-Pryce's 10.73 and 0.28 off Jeter's 10.64.
Felix says the decision on whether to enter the 100 or 400 -- or neither -- at the U.S. Olympic trials later this month will mostly come down to what Kersee observes in practice. Despite her success in the 400, the 100 feels more natural.
"I will always consider myself a sprinter," Felix said. "There's no question about that. Even when I run the 400, the hardest part for me is being patient and buying into the strategy of it all. I'm a true sprinter. I just want to go and run fast."
Felix smiled widely when somebody asked if she would run a triple if the schedule was spread out enough: the 100, 200 and 400.
"If time permitted," she said, "I think that would be the coolest thing."