Allyson Felix withdrew on the eve of the Prefontaine Classic and will miss Saturday’s anticipated 400m showdown with Olympic champion Shaunae Miller-Uibo and world champion Phyllis Francis.
No reason was given by the meet director at a Friday press conference, according to media in Eugene, Ore.
Felix, a nine-time Olympic medalist and 16-time world outdoor championships medalist, was scheduled to race on the top international level for the first time since Aug. 20. She has raced in smaller meets this season, most recently last Friday.
This is the one year in the four-year cycle without an Olympics or world outdoor championships, making the Diamond League, and the Pre Classic in particular, marquee meets.
“In the 19 years that I’ve been running track, I’ve never taken a break,” the 32-year-old Felix said in an Instagram video Thursday after an intense training session but before her name was taken off Saturday’s start list. “Never had a year where I took it easy. … Now that this is kind of a year without a championship, I’ve had to force myself to have a different approach because my goal is 2020. … To be able to be at my best when it counts, I think that means not having as intense of a year as I usually do. Being a competitor and an athlete, that’s something that I struggle with. … This year, that’s what I’m really trying to force myself to do is have quality races, quality over quantity. … So, if you guys don’t see me at as many of the races as I usually run, don’t worry, I’m fine, I’m just challenging myself to be smarter.”
Felix will miss the Pre Classic for the second time in the last nine years. She was absent in 2016 with an ankle injury.
The USATF Outdoor Championships are in one month.
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