Allyson Felix has her sights set on the 200m-400m double at the Rio Games. Even “a significant amount of pain” won’t stop her from trying.
Felix described her ankle injury during a press conference Wednesday ahead of the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials, which begin Friday. She has a grade two ankle sprain, meaning partially torn ligaments in her ankle.
The pain is manageable, Felix says, because she has a “high pain tolerance.”
The women’s 400m heats begin Friday, with the semifinals Saturday and final on Sunday. The 200m races begin next Friday, July 8.
Felix injured her ankle in late April during a gym session in Los Angeles. She was doing core work on a pull up bar while holding a medicine ball between her feet. She let go of the ball, dropped down and landed on the ball with her right foot. Immediately she knew she had done significant damage. Her ankle swelled like never before.
Felix did not undergo surgery, opting for pool work a couple days after the mishap. She finally returned to the track in late May, and began running the oval counter-clockwise. That allowed her to push off the outside of her left foot because pushing off the right ankle hurt too much.
This is “probably my most difficult year,” Felix said. But it could end up being her finest should she qualify for Rio in both events and excel.
The defending 200m Olympic champion, Felix has never won two individual medals at one Games. She ran the 100m in addition to the 200m at the London Games, but placed fifth.
The IOC has already accommodated Felix’s attempt by switching up the Olympic schedule. The 200m prelims and 400m final were originally in the same evening session. Now, the 400m semifinal takes place in the evening on Aug. 14, with the 200m preliminaries the next morning, and the 400m final the evening of Aug. 15.
Felix attempted the 200-400 double at the 2011 World Championships, winning silver in the 400 and bronze in the 200.
MORE: U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials broadcast schedule