Exactly a year from now, Allyson Felix plans to be in London with the U.S. Olympic track team, but for the moment, she's focused on next month's World Championships in Daegu, South Korea.
In addition to trying to win her fourth consecutive title in the 200-meter event, Felix, 25, recently announced she will run the 400 as well, going for a "double" sweep that no woman has ever achieved at the worlds. I spoke with her Wednesday afternoon about her decision.
Question from Bonnie D. Ford: Was there a light-bulb moment, or was this a gradual process?
Answer from Allyson Felix: It was definitely a gradual process. I was going back and forth. After nationals [where she won the U.S. 400-meter title for the first time in her career], I was very encouraged by how I felt during the rounds. Then I had a conversation with my dad, weighing the options. I've done the 200 three times. It was time to step out of my comfort zone.
Q: What about your conversations with Bobby [Kersee, her coach]?
A: Before nationals, he was leaning against it. Ever since then, he's been really excited. The momentum has definitely swung.
Q: In an interview before your last race, in Monaco, you told reporters one of the reasons you're less secure about the 400 is all the tactics and strategy involved because you're "just a sprinter." Not giving yourself a lot of credit there!
A: It's a totally different race. I am a sprinter, and I love to go fast. It's very difficult for me to be patient and follow a race strategy or conserve energy.
Q: What is the schedule at worlds for the double? How much are you dwelling on that?
A: It's going to be six very difficult days of racing. Three days of the 400, then I have two days off, then three days of the 200, then the 4x400 [relay] and the 4x100 right after that. I'm just going to have to work with my physical therapist and keep my legs as strong as I can and do everything we can to stay as fit as possible.
Q: [U.S. relays coach] Jon Drummond told me you're an integral part of the relays and that you would make yourself available, but ideally, I assume you would just run in the finals?
A: Ideally, yes. If something were to happen where he needed me [in heats], of course I would be available. What I've said is that I'm going to communicate with the team. I want the best possible team to be on the track no matter what.
For more on Allyson Felix's road to the 2012 London Olympics, check out Bonnie D. Ford's feature on the sprinter.