Allyson Felix eyes USATF Outdoor Champs in return from childbirth

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NEW YORK — Allyson Felix has returned to full training and plans to compete at the USATF Outdoor Championships in July in Des Moines, Iowa, she said Monday, following her emergency C-section childbirth on Nov. 28.

“It’s going, and, right now, I’m fully committed,” she said. “Nationals is going to be my focus. I’ll probably compete a little bit before then, but I’m not exactly sure.”

Felix, the most decorated female track and field athlete with nine Olympic medals, plans to race the 400m at nationals.

She’s the 2012 Olympic 200m champion but has since shifted to the full lap. Felix, the reigning Olympic silver medalist and world bronze medalist at 400m, didn’t contest a 200m in her abbreviated 2018 season for the first time in her nearly two-decade career.

Felix is one Olympic medal shy of Carl Lewis‘ record for any U.S. track and field athlete and three shy of the most medals for a U.S. woman in any sport.

She could tie the record for U.S. Olympic track and field appearances in Tokyo. But Felix will be 34 in 2020, and the U.S. is deep in the 400m with 20-somethings.

Felix believes this Olympic qualifying quest will be more difficult than her last one, when she was .01 shy of making the team in both the 200m and 400m less than three months after partially tearing two ligaments in her right ankle.

“I could dedicate every single second of 2016 to being back,” said Felix, whose 400m personal best from 2015 is still two tenths faster than any other active U.S. woman. “I have so much more on my plate now.”

Daughter Camryn will accompany Felix to Des Moines and most meets overall. At nationals, the top three in the 400m qualify for the world championships (aside from the already qualified Phyllis Francis, defending world champ) and likely the top six for the 4x400m relay.

The U.S. had six of the nine fastest women in the world last year, with the four fastest born at least nine years after Felix. Felix ranked 44th overall, but those times were two months into her pregnancy.

“This year will be good to get momentum going, to get back and see,” she said. “Then next year I’ll be able to have a better idea.”

What’s clear is that Tokyo would be her last Olympics, though she’s not ruling out trying for the 2021 World Championships in Eugene, Ore.

“2016, with the injury and everything, it wasn’t on my terms,” Felix said. “So I would love to leave on my terms and to have it in control.”

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