Allyson Felix will walk away from the Daegu World Championships with two individuals medals – a silver in the 400 meters and bronze in the 200 meters. Any other athlete would be pleased with the performance but not Felix.
The three-time World champion not only sought to win an unprecedented fourth gold in the 200 meters but more importantly wanted to experiment. Rather than just focusing on the 200 meters, Felix doubled – something she has never done in a championship setting in order to see if a similar attempt could be done for the 2012 Olympics.
“This was all a learning experience,” Felix said of the double. “I learned a lot about how my body responds.”
Feeling “disappointed and tired” after the 200 final, Felix will now reconsider the possibility of the 200/400 double in London.
“All I can think about now is next year,” Felix said after the 200 meter final. “The 200 meters is going to be the most important thing to me.”
She has long stated her desire to win 200 meter Olympic gold after twice falling short at the 2004 and 2008 Games.
A year ago, I wrote an piece outlining the feasibility of the London 200/400 double for Felix. Two of the obstacles I said she would face – increasing aerobic strength and stiff competition – are worth re-evaluating now that she has attempted the double at the world stage.
Last year Felix’s strength for the 400 meters was questionable. She was able to utilize her speed to take the pace out hard and hang on in races but did not prove the ability to run down competitors on the final straightaway. Felix has gained the necessary strength to come from behind which she nearly did to catch Amantle Montsho in the 400 meters. However, the gains in strength have come with sacrifices in her speed. She has simply not had the leg turnover needed to win 200 meter races. Felix and coach Bobby Kersee will need to restore that speed in take down Veronica Campbell-Brown in London.
Campbell-Brown has been the bane of Felix’s existence, twice winning Olympic gold in her cherished 200 meters while she has settled for silver. The 200 meter final on Friday once again proved the Jamaican always comes up clutch on the big occasions. Carmelita Jeter has also emerged as a half-lap threat in addition to her championship credentials in the 100 meters.
Sanya Richards-Ross was considered the main obstacle for Felix in the 400 meters but newcomer Montsho has made things even more difficult. The Botswanan made the jump from barely qualifying for the final at the Berlin World Championships to becoming a quarter-mile world beater. Throw in a healthy Richards-Ross in 2012 and Felix’s 400 meter chances become even slimmer.
With tough competition considered along with all other factors, it seems Felix is more inclined to focus on her heart-and-soul event, the 200 meters. She has stated on many occasions she would trade her three World titles in the event for just one Olympic gold. If she is to rise to the top of the Olympic medal stand over 200 meters, focusing exclusively on that event seems like the wise move to make.