Felix fourth in 200m, no chance for Olympic double

by

July 12, 2016
Sydney McLaughlin, 16, reacts after her third place finish in the finals of the women's 400 metres hurdles at the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials on Sunday.
Tori Bowie (left) beats Jenna Prandini (centre) and Allyson Felix (right) in the women's 200m final at the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials on Sunday. Prandini was third and Felix finished fourth.
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EUGENE, Oregon (AP):

Allyson Felix had the star power to change the Olympic schedule.

Now, it's her schedule that needs adjusting.

Felix's run at the 200-400 Olympic double, made possible after Olympics officials honoured her request for a chance to run both races, came to an earlier-than-expected end Sunday. She finished fourth (22.54) in the 200-metre final, one spot out of the Rio mix, in a .01-second loss to a sprawling Jenna Prandini at US Track and Field Trials. Tori Bowie won in 22.25 with Deejah Stevens second in 22.30.

"Honestly, disappointed," said Felix, who will not get a chance to defend her Olympic title in her signature event. "The whole year, that has been what I was working for. When I look back and see everything that happened, I still think it's quite amazing I was able to make the team."

She did make the 400-metre line-up, and that is, indeed, quite an accomplishment considering the injury she suffered this spring. After landing awkwardly on an exercise ball while doing core work, she rolled her right ankle.

The injury was so severe she avoided running around the track in the correct, counterclockwise direction until just before trials, for fear she'd put too much outside pressure on her injured ankle.

In track lingo, a sprinter doesn't necessarily have to be "fast" to succeed in the 400m a full lap around the track in which technique is more important than pure speed. But in the 200m, it takes a more aggressive lean into the curve at the opening of the race just the sort of practice Felix didn't get enough of during her slow comeback.

"I could only do what I could with the ankle," she said.

One of Felix's biggest fans made news earlier in the day: 16-year-old Sydney McLaughlin became the youngest member of the US Olympic track team since 1972 when she finished third in the 400m hurdles in a world junior record 54.15 seconds. Dalilah Muhammad won in 52.88, while Ashley Spencer was second in 54.02.

Not bad for the junior out of Union Catholic High School in New Jersey, who turned on the Beijing Olympics eight years ago, saw Felix winning the 4x400m relay and thought, "I'd like to be like her, someday."

Asked what she loved most about Felix, McLaughlin said: "She wasn't afraid to lose."

"Sometimes, I get so caught up in the fact that I hadn't lost a hurdles race, and I come here, and these girls are faster than me," said McLaughlin, who admitted to being so nervous earlier in the week she considered pulling out of the meet. "It's realising that sometimes you have to lose to get better."

"I'm pretty sure everyone expected to see her on the (200) team," Bowie said. "I'm pretty sure it won't be the same without her."

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