Allyson Felix says coach to ‘voice opinion’ about Olympic track and field schedule

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Allyson Felix repeated Wednesday that August’s World Championships schedule “doesn’t allow” her to run both the 200m and 400m, six days after her coach reportedly said the 200m-400m double was still a possibility.

Felix also said her coach, Bobby Kersee, would make his final decision on what her schedule will be for the World Championships (Aug. 22-30 in Beijing) after she races a 200m in Lausanne, Switzerland, on Thursday. No woman has swept the 200m and 400m at a Worlds, though it’s been done in both genders at the Olympics.

Felix was also asked Wednesday if Kersee had, in an effort to seek flexibility in the Rio 2016 Olympic track and field schedule approved in November, reached out to the IAAF (track and field’s international governing body), the International Olympic Committee or Michael Johnson (who lobbied for a March 1996 change to the Atlanta 1996 Olympic schedule that increased the time between the men’s 200m and 400m at those Games).

“I haven’t talked to [Kersee] on the specifics of it, but he definitely told me that he would be talking to whoever he needs to talk to, just voicing his opinion,” Felix told media in Lausanne. “Just not only for myself, but the 200m-400m double, to me, is a common double. A lot of 400m runners can the run the 200m as well. Any case moving forward, it would be a great opportunity for a long sprinter to have.”

Felix was also asked if a 200m-400m double attempt at Worlds (where the 200m semifinals and 400m final are about an hour apart) was important so Olympic schedulers could consider athletes who want to attempt the double next year.

“I would love to run the double,” Felix answered. “It’s something that I did before, and I would love to do it again. In my opinion, the schedule just doesn’t allow for it [at Worlds]. To me, it’s really disappointing because there are so many people who can do a 200m-400m double, and I think that we should be allowed to attempt it. So I would hope that, moving forward, that the Olympic schedule would reflect that. But at this World Championships, in my opinion, I don’t see it as being ideal to be able to run optimal in both the 400m and the 200m.”

In 1996, the original Olympic schedule called for the men’s 200m semifinals and 400m final on the same day, as is the case for the women’s races at the World Championships in Beijing next month. Johnson reportedly said then that he would have chosen one individual race if the Atlanta 1996 schedule remained that way.

The March 1996 revised schedule allowed Johnson a full day of rest between the 400m final and the start of the 200m rounds. Johnson, in golden shoes, went on to become the first man to sweep the 200m and 400m at an Olympics.

The women’s 200m-400m double gold has also been done at the Olympics. American Valerie Brisco-Hooks swept them at Los Angeles 1984, and France’s Marie-Jose Perec in 1996.

Brisco-Hooks and Perec, like Johnson, also had one day off between the 400m and 200m in their Olympic schedules.

The Rio 2016 Olympic schedule calls for the women’s 400m final to go off 75 minutes after the start of the first round of the women’s 200m. It’s not as tough as August’s Worlds, but it’s a departure from London 2012, when there was a day off between the 400m and 200m.

In 2012, Felix attempted the 100m-200m double rather than the 200m-400m (one day off between the 100m and 200m) and finished fifth in the 100m and, in her primary goal, won gold in the 200m.

In 2011, the Worlds schedule had two days between the women’s 400m final final and the start of the women’s 200m.

“Going through this will tell me if it’s even going to be a possibility to do the same thing in London [at the 2012 Olympics],” Felix said before the 2011 Worlds, according to The Associated Press.

In 2011, Felix won 400m silver (in a personal-best time, beaten by .03 by Botswana’s Amantle Montsho in her personal best; Montsho is currently serving a doping ban) and 200m bronze.

“You definitely are going to be more fatigued, but I think that’s the challenge of it,” Felix said of the 200m-400m double Wednesday. “That’s a great thing about athletics, to challenge yourself and see what you can accomplish.”

Allyson Felix’s patience pays off in 2014; ready to explore in 2015

Ironman Kona World Championships return for first time in three years, live on Peacock

Ironman Kona World Championship
Ironman
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The Ironman Kona World Championships return after a three-year hiatus with a new format, live on Peacock on Thursday and Saturday at 12 p.m. ET.

The Ironman, held annually in Hawaii since 1978, and in Kailua-Kona since 1981, was not held in 2020 or 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The world championships made a one-time-only stop in St. George, Utah, on May 7 to make up for the 2021 cancellation. The winners were Norway’s Kristian Blummenfelt, the Tokyo Olympic triathlon champion, and Swiss Daniela Ryf, who bagged her fifth Ironman world title.

Both are entered in Kailua-Kona, where the races are now split between two days — Thursday for the women and Saturday for the men.

An Ironman includes a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike and a marathon — totaling 140.6 miles of racing. It takes top triathletes eight hours to complete. Very arguably, it crowns the world’s fittest man and woman.

WATCH LIVE: Ironman Kona, Thursday, 12 p.m. ET — STREAM LINK

Ryf, 35 and a 2008 and 2012 Olympian, can tie retired countrywoman Natascha Badmann for second place on the women’s list at six Ironman world titles. Only Zimbabwean-turned-American Paula Newby-Fraser has more with eight.

The field also includes German Anne Haug, the 2019 Kona champ and only woman other than Ryf to win since 2015. Brit Lucy Charles-Barclay, the Kona runner-up in 2017, 2018 and 2019, returns after missing the St. George event due to a stress fracture in her hip.

Blummenfelt, 28 and in his Kona debut, will try to become the youngest male champion in Kona since German Normann Stadler in 2005. His top challengers include countryman Gustav Iden, the two-time reigning Half Ironman world champion, and German Patrick Lange, the 2017 and 2018 Ironman Kona winner.

Also racing Saturday is Dallas Clark, a retired All-Pro NFL tight end with the Indianapolis Colts, and Tony Kanaan, the 2013 Indy 500 champion who completed the 2011 Kona Ironman in 12 hours, 52 minutes, 40 seconds.

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Joan Benoit Samuelson, Olympic marathon champ in 1984, runs London Marathon at 65

Joan Benoit Samuelson
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Joan Benoit Samuelson, the first Olympic women’s marathon champion in 1984, ran her first 26.2-mile race in three years at Sunday’s London Marathon and won her age group.

Benoit Samuelson, 65, clocked 3 hours, 20 minutes, 20 seconds to top the women’s 65-69 age group by 7 minutes, 52 seconds. She took pleasure in being joined in the race by daughter Abby, who crossed in 2:58:19.

“She may have beaten me with my replacement knee, but everybody said I wouldn’t do it! I will never say never,” Benoit Samuelson said, according to race organizers. “I am a grandmother now to Charlotte, and it’s my goal to run 5K with her.”

LONDON MARATHON: Results

Benoit Samuelson raced the 1987 Boston Marathon while three months pregnant with Abby. Before that, she won the first Olympic women’s marathon at the 1984 Los Angeles Games, plus the Boston Marathon in 1979 and 1983 and the Chicago Marathon in 1985.

Her personal best — 2:21:21 — still holds up. She ranks sixth in U.S. women’s history.

Benoit Samuelson plans to race the Tokyo Marathon to complete her set of doing all six annual World Marathon Majors. The others are Berlin, Boston, Chicago and New York City.

“I’m happy to finish this race and make it to Tokyo, but I did it today on a wing and a prayer,” she said, according to organizers. “I’m blessed to have longevity in this sport. It doesn’t owe me anything, but I feel I owe my sport.”

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