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Allyson Felix eyes 200m as she works toward 2020 Olympics

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Allyson Felix wants to race at a fifth Olympics in 2020 but, now at age 31, plans to compete less and repeated that the 200m is her “baby” and “favorite event.”

“Yes, I think I want to do it [compete at Tokyo 2020],” Felix said at the Los Angeles Sports Awards on Tuesday night. “Now, I have all this experience that I can use. I remember when I was the youngest on the team. Now, I’m one of the oldest. … I can train smarter. I think now, less is more. We were talking about competing less. That is really key as well.”

Last year, Felix took silver in the Olympic 400m, edged by the Bahamas’ Shaunae Miller by .07.

Felix had hoped to race the 200m and 400m in Rio, but she missed the Olympic team by .01 in the 200m at the Olympic Trials in July, slowed by partially tearing two ligaments in her right ankle in late April.

The nine-time Olympic medalist said in September that she wasn’t committing to going for a 200m-400m double at the 2017 World Championships. Nor did she consider herself a 400m runner.

“I’m always hanging onto the 200m,” Felix said in September. “I just feel like I haven’t ran it [the 200m] in the past few years, for one reason or the other [neither at the 2015 Worlds due to a tight schedule nor 2016 Olympics due to not qualifying]. The opportunity hasn’t quite been there. I’m excited, looking forward to this year [2017]. I’m not sure exactly what I’m going to do, but I know that I’m not done with the 200m yet.”

Miller said earlier this month that she hopes to race both the 200m and 400m at the world championships in London in August, when the 400m final comes about 2 1/2 hours after the 200m heats end.

Felix said in September that the missed opportunity in 2016 only made her more emboldened to go for the double in the future.

“Because my training was going so well before [the injury],” she said. “I’m just so curious what I could have done. That’s the thing that really eats me up, to know that I wasn’t at my best to be able to do it. To see where I would be in four years, I don’t know. Or at a world championships [in 2017 or 2019], I’m not sure.”

In 2020, Felix could try to become the oldest U.S. women’s Olympic medalist in an individual track and field event, beating the mark set by Jackie Joyner-Kersee at Atlanta 1996. By making the Olympic team, she would match the record for U.S. Olympic track and field appearances at five with Gail DeversAmy Acuff and Willye White.

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Erin Hamlin to run New York City Marathon

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Erin Hamlin, the first U.S. Olympic singles luge medalist and Team USA flag bearer at the PyeongChang Olympic Opening Ceremony, will run the New York City Marathon on Nov. 4.

Hamlin, a 2014 Olympic bronze medalist who retired after her fourth Olympics in PyeongChang at age 31, is running to fundraise for the Women’s Sports Foundation. So is Marlen Esparza, who in 2012 became the first U.S. Olympic women’s boxing medalist (flyweight bronze).

Hamlin has no marathon experience, according to the Women’s Sports Foundation.

“Being challenged in sport is something I am very familiar with,” Hamlin said in a mass email Wednesday, according to TeamUSA.org. “Long distance running is something I most certainly am not!! It will be difficult, mentally and physically daunting, but a way to test my abilities in a sport so far out of my comfort zone.”

Many Olympians in non-running sports have raced the New York City Marathon.

Bill Demong, the 2010 U.S. Olympic Closing Ceremony flag bearer and only U.S. Olympic Nordic combined champion, ran the 2014 NYC Marathon in 2:33:05, crushing eight-time Olympic medalist Apolo Ohno‘s 3:25:14 from 2011.

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Softball set to return to Olympics as first event on Tokyo 2020 schedule

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Softball, returning to the Olympics after a 12-year absence, is scheduled to kick off the 2020 Tokyo Games, two days before the Opening Ceremony.

The preliminary master schedule for the Tokyo Olympics was published Wednesday, with the first softball game scheduled for 10 a.m. local time on the Wednesday before the Opening Ceremony.

The first game is scheduled to be held in Fukushima, the site of 2011 nuclear plant meltdowns caused by an earthquake and tsunami 155 miles north of Tokyo. The International Olympic Committee and Tokyo organizers have been eager to use the Games as a symbol of recovery from the 2011 disaster

Traditionally, soccer has been the first sport to have action at a Summer Olympics, one or two days before the Opening Ceremony. While soccer is again scheduled to have matches that same Wednesday, they start later than 10 a.m.

The Tokyo 2020 schedule is subject to change and certainly not a final version — swimming, diving and synchronized swimming schedules are still to be determined, but those sports do not typically start before the Opening Ceremony.

Softball was added in 1991 to the Olympic program to debut at the 1996 Atlanta Games. The U.S. won the first three gold medals before softball and baseball were narrowly voted off the Olympic program in 2005/06 (a 52-52 IOC vote for softball, with a majority needed to stay in the Olympics), with the 2008 Beijing Games being the last edition. Japan won the last Olympic softball gold medal 10 years ago.

Then on Aug. 3, 2016, baseball and softball were among five sports added for the 2020 Tokyo Games only, at the request of Tokyo Olympic organizers. Baseball and softball are not guaranteed to remain on the Olympic program in Paris in 2024.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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