Allyson Felix at the pre-meet press conference in Rome (Bob Ramsak) © Copyright
General News Rome, Italy

US Trials behind her, still some unfinished business for Felix - ÅF Golden League, Rome

Less than a week after her 200m victory at the U.S. Olympic Trials in Eugene, two-time defending World 200m champion Allyson Felix still has some unfinished business on her agenda.

With her Olympic double sprint ambitions dashed after a fifth place showing in the 100m, Felix now wants to convince the U.S. coaching squad that she deserves at least on other Beijing appointment as a member of either the 4x100 or 4x400 Relay quartets. Or, perhaps both. She’ll begin making her case in the 400m at today's Golden Gala Kinder+Sport, the third fixture of the six meet ÅF Golden League 2008.

“I’d definitely like to run both relays at the Olympic Games, but America’s got so much depth, I don’t know what my chances really are,” Felix said. “I’m just going to do my best and put my performances out there. And then it’s up to the coaches to decide.”

The 22-year-old Southern Californian certainly has the credentials. A year ago, Felix ran a scintillating 48.0 split on the victorious 4x400m Relay squad, one of the fastest relay splits ever. She also ran the second leg on the winning 4x100m Relay quartet to end the championships with three gold medals.

Her 400m PB of 49.70 came in Stockholm last year and Felix believes she’s in shape to at least make a good run at that mark.

“I have high expectations,” she said. “Hopefully I’ll run a fast time.” She’s already in sub-50 territory this year after her 49.83 victory in Doha in early May, the second fastest performance of the year.

Felix said she has a pair of 400s and a 100m outing on her pre-Beijing schedule, but none, she said will detract from the 200m, for the moment, her favourite event.

“The 200 has always been my ultimate goal for the Olympic Games and I’m just really excited that I’m going, to compete against some great athletes there.” Four years ago she took the silver medal as an 18-year-old, and has since come to dominate the event. Her 21.81 dash in Osaka, the fastest performance in this century, was widely acknowledged as one of the most beautifully run races of the championships.

Felix was disappointed with her fifth place showing in the 100m in Eugene, where she clocked 10.96, just shy of her season and career best of 10.93, also from the Doha Super Grand Prix. But she acknowledged that her ambitions were lofty.

“I’m definitely disappointed but I knew it would be a difficult task to try and make our team. It’s unfortunate that I can’t run the 100, but there’s so much depth there. I know it’s going to be a very exciting race. Now I just have to reshift my goals and focus on the 200.”

Despite her disappointment in the 100, Felix said the trials were a solid indicator of where her fitness currently lies. Compared to this time last year, she said, “I think I’m a little bit better. I haven’t focused on the 200 as early in the year as I have in the past, so for my first 200 to be at trials and to be able to kind of get sharp in the rounds, was good.”

“I feel really good going into the Games,”she continued. “I feel like I just need to work on a few things. My start in the 200 needs to feel a little bit better, and I just need to fine tune some things.”

Are there any time goals written on her training room chalk board?

“A PR, hopefully,” she says, breaking into laughter. “And a gold medal. I think it’s definitely going to take a PR to get that.”

But first, she’s hoping to take care of business at Rome’s Golden Gala over the full lap.

“I’m here because I really want to get consideration for the 4x400. Track is so much of an individual sport that it’s fun to come together as a team and perform. Hopefully I’ll be able to run some relays and have fun there as well.”

Bob Ramsak for the IAAF