Allyson Felix eager to double again
NEW YORK -- Allyson Felix reflected on her trying season and looked ahead in an interview while at a USA Track and Field Hershey RunJumpThrow event across from Central Park earlier this month.
Felix, a nine-time Olympic medalist, spoke three weeks after taking silver in the 400m in Rio, competing after partially tearing two ligaments in her right ankle in late April.
She had hoped to go for a 200m-400m double in Rio -- the Olympic schedule was even changed to make it more accommodating after her coach’s request -- but, while slowed even more by the ankle, she finished fourth in the 200m at the Olympic Trials in July, missing the Olympic team in her trademark event by .01.
Here are highlights from the interview:
OlympicTalk: Given the circumstances, could you have asked for a lot more this year?
Felix: It was an insane year. I can put it into perspective now. I’m definitely still disappointed, even though things didn’t go as I planned before [the Olympics], I was still hoping to be able to pull it out. So Rio was really challenging for me. Even when I got there, it just seemed like things kept happening. It was a tough time, but I feel like I learned a lot of lessons. I’m so grateful that I was even able to have that experience.
OlympicTalk: Were you 100 percent in Rio?
Felix: I was good enough to compete. They told me [in Rio] I still have six months before my ankle is not going to feel anything, but I felt like I was good enough to go out there and compete. Ankles are just tricky. It’s one of those things where you’re still going to have residual pain. But it was nothing I couldn’t manage.
OlympicTalk: A lot of athletes ended their seasons at the Olympics -- Usain Bolt, Wayde van Niekerk, Justin Gatlin. Why did you race in Zurich [on Sept. 1], especially coming off the ankle injury?
Felix: It’s always very tough to compete after a major championship. I had already made the commitment earlier in the year [to compete at the meet in the 200m], and the only 200m I had was at Olympic Trials. So I just wanted to see where I was at. I know I wasn’t prepared how I should be prepared, but I just wanted to kind of see where my speed was.
OlympicTalk: Did Zurich [finishing third behind the Olympic gold and silver medalists] give you any thought of how it would have gone in the 200m in Rio?
Felix: It’s never fun to lose, but that [Zurich] race was actually really encouraging because I know my preparation. And I know the speed work was not there. So to be able to come out and run 22, close to 22 flat, I know that once the [speed] work is there, I’ll be able to be competitive.
OlympicTalk: Do you see yourself as more of a 400m runner now?
Felix: No, I’m always hanging onto the 200m. I just feel like I haven’t ran it [the 200m] in the past few years, for one reason or the other [neither at the 2015 Worlds due to a tight schedule nor 2016 Olympics due to not qualifying]. The opportunity hasn’t quite been there. I’m excited, looking forward to this year . I’m not sure exactly what I’m going to do, but I know that I’m not done with the 200m yet.
OlympicTalk: Does what happened this year make you want to do the double even more or not do it?
Felix: It definitely does make me want to do it because my training was going so well before [the injury]. I’m just so curious what I could have done. That’s the thing that really eats me up, to know that I wasn’t at my best to be able to do it. To see where I would be in four years, I don’t know. Or at a world championships [in 2017 or 2019], I’m not sure.
OlympicTalk: Being a Los Angeles native, who would you choose to speak to the IOC members on LA 2024’s behalf at the vote next September?
Felix: I would love to see a lot of people who were around in ’84. Not necessarily L.A. home people, but people who were competing -- Valerie Brisco-Hooks, even Jackie [Joyner-Kersee]. Even some great L.A. people who not so much connected to the  Olympics, but Magic Johnson, just L.A. people in general. I think there are a great mix of people that are lobbying for this to come.
OlympicTalk: If you could change one thing about track and field to increase its popularity, what would it be?
Felix: That’s a really tough question. There’s a lot of things that we could alter, but I would love to see more street races. More events surrounding the sport where people can be up close to it, be entertained, instead of a traditional track meet.
OlympicTalk: Is there anybody you enjoy watching in track and field, not including training partners and friends?
Felix: I’m a fan of the sport, so there’s a number of them. I love watching [2012 Olympic 400m champion] Kirani [James] compete. Where the men’s 400m is now, I mean, Wayde [van Niekerk] was amazing. I think they never shy away from races. They’re competitors. I love watching the jumps. What Jeff [Henderson] did in Rio [in the long jump] was amazing. I love watching Emma [Coburn in the 3000m steeplechase], an event that is so foreign to me. She’s the sweetest.