For Canadian hurdler Perdita Felicien, a two-time NCAA 100m hurdles champion, being an outsider in Paris suits her just fine.
"I love it," the 22 year-old from Pickering, Ontario said after her near PB 12.70 yesterday, the second fastest time of the opening round. "I always tell people that this is so much easier that being at the NCAA championships because there, everyone expects Perdita from Illinois to win."
Well after tongiht's run in the semi final stage in which she was the second fastest qualifier with another PB of 12.68, the pressure is sure to start mounting very soon, as Canada begins to smell the hint of a gold medal in Paris 2003 Saint-Denis.
After finishing second to world leader Brigitte Foster at the Pan-American Games earlier this month, the junior from the University of Illinois quietly lowered her PB to 12.67 less than two weeks ago with her win in Zurich's "B" Race.
Felicien said that her long collegiate season, which began indoors with an NCAA indoor title in March, doesn't play a major role here. She's fresh and ready.
"We've kind of just learned through the years that I have to pick my races each season," she said, stressing the quality of races over quantity. "I didn't run alot collegiately, knowing that this one was the big one for the years."
A semi-finalist in Edmonton, Felicien has already proved she has improved, and is confident that she can step up several more notches in Paris, particularly as "the unknown."
"No one here really knows me, an no one really cares," she said of her darkhorse role. "So hopefully they're not paying too much attention to me and I can sneak up into the medals."
She expects that 12.59 will be require for a medal.
"I think I'm capable of it. If I can turn some heads on Wednesday, that will be great. Hopefully, I'll be the spoiler."