BEIJING (AP) – Training-wise, Allyson Felix thinks she’s fit enough to run the 200 and 400 meters at the world championships.
Timing-wise, the schedule just doesn’t work out. It’s a situation that irks the usually stoic American sprinter, who qualified in both events but will focus only on the 400 in Beijing.
Here’s the dilemma: The semifinals of the 200 – her signature event and the one she captured gold at the 2012 London Olympics – is on Thursday, with the 400 final to follow 65 minutes later. No way for Felix to recover that quickly.
“I was disappointed,” Felix said Friday, a day before the start of the worlds. “I wish we would’ve been allowed the opportunity to really go after it.
“It was a really difficult decision. I felt like I was in shape that I could do both, but not with the schedule.”
More bad news: Probably won’t be possible next year at the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, either. The tentative schedule is for the first round of the 200 to begin on the day of the 400 final. Those races are only 75 minutes apart.
Time isn’t on her side.
“I would love to have the opportunity to have the choice to be able do it,” said Felix, who may elect to double in the 100 and 200 like she did for the London Games. “I guess it’s something we have to see.”
International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach said Friday the schedule isn’t set in stone.
“The Olympic program has been defined in principle, but if we have a special case where we can help an athlete, we would still be ready to discuss,” Bach said. “It would have repercussions on others. Have to see if it would be possible or not. I can’t tell you what the outcome of such a discussion would be.”
Felix didn’t run the 200 at the U.S. championships in June since she already had a bye into the event at the worlds courtesy of her 2014 Diamond League title. She only ran the 400 and breezed to the title.
In years past, she may have opted to run the 200 at the worlds and skip the 400. But she elected to dabble in an event she’s still learning to run.
“I’m excited for the challenge,” said the 29-year-old Felix, who is coached by Bobby Kersee. “I’m looking forward to going out there and putting my best foot forward.”
Things didn’t exactly go well for Felix at the worlds two years ago in Moscow, when she collapsed during the 200 final with a torn hamstring. Her brother, Wes, carried her off the track.
Felix had big plans at those championships, too, possibly winning three medals – one in the 200, along with maybe two more in the 4×100 and 4×400 relays.
That many medals could be in play this time, too. She plans to run on both relay teams – if the coaching staff selects her, that is.
“We’re getting our chemistry going,” Felix said. “We’re looking to put forth a really good team.”
AP National Writer Eddie Pells contributed to this report.
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