Olympic 200m champion Allyson Felix says switching to the longer sprint for Rio 2016 is “a real possibility”
Despite winning three individual world titles between 2005 and 2009, Allyson Felix was forced to settle for silver at both the Athens and Beijing Olympic Games.
But London 2012 was the Games of redemption for many top American athletes, including 27-year-old Felix who claimed her first individual gold last summer in the 200m.
“Finally!“ she laughs. “It feels amazing. It’s been such a long time that that’s been my goal, so for it to come together is just relief and joy and I think it was much sweeter because I had the two silver medals before and so I just really appreciated it and I’m just really grateful. All those things combined just made it really special.
“Beijing was definitely the biggest disappointment, though, and even with Athens, I think just getting a silver medal you feel like it’s so close to being gold and being a competitor you always want to come out on top. At each Olympics I’ve felt like I was even more motivated than before.”
Felix may be still just 27, but she talks like a veteran. Having now competed at three Olympics, she’s keenly aware this is the final chapter of her glittering career and she knew that if her time was ever to come on the greatest stage of all, London was the moment.
One of the most versatile athletes in American track and field history, Felix has run world-class times in all three of the sprints and that’s something she feels is down to both her body type and the regime set by legendary coach Bobby Kersee.
“I’ve always loved the 100m and 200m as that’s what I started out in,” she tells AW. “I know that I have potential in the 400m so I know that’s eventually where I’ll end up.
“But the way that Bobby trains us, he trains everyone from a 400m base so even our hurdlers can run a decent 400m. Even if I’m not focusing on the 400m in a particular season, I still know that I’m probably going to run it at least once and I’m going to train to be ready for it because to run rounds of 200m, you have to be able to do that endurance work in practice anyway.”
Felix dabbled with the 400m in 2011, narrowly missing out on gold at the World Championships to Amantle Montsho. So is the distance on the cards for the Rio Olympics?
“It’s definitely a real possibility,” she reveals. “I’ll be 30 in Rio and I think if I’m going to make a switch I’ll have to do it then as it’ll probably be my last Olympics so that’s definitely something that I’ve been thinking about.”
» This is an extract from a three-page interview published in the May 23 issue of AW, which is available here. Allyson Felix was interviewed by David Cox ahead of Saturday’s BT Great CityGames in Manchester.