Shaunae Miller-Uibo, the Rio Olympic 400m champion who just won the Diamond League 200m title in the fastest time in this Olympic cycle, requested that the Tokyo 2020 track and field schedule be changed to better accommodate a 200m-400m double.
Miller-Uibo, a Bahamian who hasn’t lost at either distance in two years, hopes the IAAF will facilitate her request, in part because it was done for Michael Johnson in 1996 and Allyson Felix in 2016. Miller-Uibo will probably stick to one individual event in Tokyo if the schedule is not changed, she told NBC Olympics senior researcher Alex Azzi at the Diamond League finals in Zurich on Thursday.
Johnson famously swept the 200m and 400m at the Atlanta Games (as did Frenchwoman Marie-José Pérec).
Felix, coming back from torn ankle ligaments, missed making the 2016 Olympic team in the 200m by .01. She earned silver behind a diving Miller-Uibo in the Rio 400m final.
Miller-Uibo said she will race the 400m at the world championships in Doha in next month, opting out of the 200m because it overlapped with the 400m. Miller-Uibo did not ask the IAAF to amend the worlds schedule.
The Olympic schedule is a little more favorable. The 400m first round and the 200m final are on the same day (former in the morning, latter at night), with the 400m semifinals the following day.
“It’s still a little bit tricky,” Miller-Uibo said Wednesday. “We’re just asking them to clear it up a little bit more for us, where we can focus on three [rounds in the 200m] and then focus on the other three [rounds in the 400m]. I think it’s always been so simple for the 100m/200m runners. The 200m/400m being a more complex double, I think we’re asking for a day, if they can at least do that for us. We’ve asked, and we’re just hoping that we can make the changes.”
An IAAF spokesperson said the request is under consideration and will require consultation with other key Olympic stakeholders.
Miller-Uibo said she has not spoken with her Rio rival Felix about the process.
“But I know that in the past it’s been changed a lot for people, so we’re just hoping they can make the change for me,” she said.
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