Allyson Felix and LaShawn Merritt earned their Olympic 400m berths with the fastest times in the world this year.
Felix qualified for her fourth Olympic team at the U.S. Olympic Trials on Sunday by winning the women’s 400m final. She won with a time of 49.68, improving her times of 50.31 in the semifinals and 51.96 in prelims.
Felix will become just the second ever U.S. athlete to compete in the 100m, 200m, and 400m in her Olympic career, joining Chandra Cheeseborough.
She will be joined on the U.S. Olympic women’s 400m team by Phyllis Francis and Natasha Hastings. Francis came in second with a time of 49.94 and Hastings finished third posting a time of 50.17.
Felix has never run the 400m at the Olympics, but did win gold at the 2012 London Games with the U.S. 4x400m relay. The six-time Olympic medalist is hoping to do the 200m-400m double in Rio and become the first woman to win the 200m and 400m at an Olympics since 1996.
Two months ago Felix hurt her right ankle while weight training and has been dealing with the injury during Trials.
“Two months ago I was barely walking,” Felix said. “To be at this moment is pretty unbelievable.”
Now with her spot in the 400m secured, Felix will look to qualify in the 200m to defend her title as Olympic champion. The first round of the women’s 200m at U.S. Olympic Trials is on July 8 with the final set for July 10.
Merritt won the men’s 400m final with a time of 43.97, the fastest time in the world this year, to book a ticket to his third Olympics.
Gil Roberts and David Verburg will join Merritt on the U.S. Olympic men’s 400m team, finishing second and third respectively.
Merritt won two gold medals in his Olympic debut at the 2008 Olympics. In 2010, he served a 21-month suspension for using a banned substance and then went into the 2012 Games with a bad hamstring and did not make it out of the qualifying round.
Like Felix, Merritt has the chance of competing in both the 200m and 400m at the Rio Olympics. He owns the world’s fastest time in 2016 at 200m and has said that he will decide whether or not to compete in the 200m at Trials after qualifying for the 400m.
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