London 2012: Allyson Felix faces dilemma over sprint double

By Matt SlaterBBC sports news reporter
Felix may do three events in London

Allyson Felix will leave the decision over which events she runs at the US Olympic Trials to her coach Bob Kersee.

The versatile Felix is certain to run her favourite event, the 200m, but is considering an attempt at an Olympic double with either the 100m or 400m.

She tried the 400m/200m double at the 2011 World Championships, but was left feeling tired for the shorter sprint.

"I'd never done it before so it was interesting and I feel like I learned a lot," said the 26-year-old.

"I learned it's tough, really hard. My adrenaline kept me going, and my training enabled me to handle the volume of races, but afterwards I was tired.

"I also learned that I needed more speed. After running that 400, my 200 just wasn't how I normally run, so that was tough.

"The 200 is my favourite event so to get in that race and not feel myself, not have that gear, it was just something I wasn't used to."

A three-time world champion over 200m, Felix was deeply disappointed to claim only a bronze medal in Daegu from an event she has often dominated since 2005. Her time in the final was more than half a second off her personal best.

But, in typical Felix fashion, that disappointment must be weighed against gold medals in the 100m and 400m relays, and a storming individual display over one lap, which saw her miss out on gold by just 0.03 seconds.

That time, a personal best, was the third quickest in 2011, whereas she was only sixth fastest over 200m, and she did not run a competitive 100m all season.

But Felix has not raced over 400m since last summer, which might provide a clue as to her likely choices at the trials.

Another indication should come from the schedule at London 2012. Determined to give herself the best chance of adding Olympic 200m gold to the silver medals she earned in 2004 and 2008, Felix and Kersee will be mindful of the day's break between the end of the 100m competition and the start of the 200m. There is no such respite between the 400m and 200m.

And there is one final piece of evidence as to which second event Kersee, who has coached a host of American track stars to Olympic glory, will choose for Felix: the impressive work she has already done this season over 100m.

The affable athlete claimed a superb victory in Doha last month, beating leading Jamaicans Veronica Campbell-Brown and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Price. Her time that night, 10.92 - another PB - is still the third quickest by anybody this year.

But Fraser-Price gained revenge in New York last week when she matched her American rival's 10.92 to remind everybody she is the defending Olympic champion over the distance. Felix trailed home in fourth place, unable to recover after a poor start.

In fact, starting remains Felix's only real weakness, and there is a chance Kersee will not risk her in a second event at all, particularly given the fiercely competitive nature of the US trials.

There are two Americans quicker than her over 200m this season, and only the first three across the line in Eugene, Oregon, on 30 June, will get the chance to compete for gold in London.

And that is all Felix really wants. Having won those three individual world championship gold medals (and five relay golds), her "only" Olympic gold is for the 4x400m relay in 2008.

"Of course I want the individual gold, but I'm at a place right now where I don't let the sport define me," she said.

"I know I'll be OK if it didn't happen…but I want it really bad so I'm going to do everything I can to make it happen!"

Top Stories