Michael Norman decided not to attempt a 200m-400m double for the Tokyo Olympics.
“These next two years, I really want to just focus on my individual event, make sure I get a medal in the 400m,” Norman said Thursday, one day before he races the 400m at the Diamond League Finals in Brussels (TV/stream schedule here). “Further down the line, hopefully I can drop down to the 200m, go for the double.”
Norman, 21, ran the sixth-fastest 400m in history on April 20, a 43.45 that is the world’s fastest time since Wayde van Niekerk lowered the world record to 43.03 at the Rio Olympics.
Norman also ranks second in the world in the 200m this year. He is the only man to beat world No. 1 Noah Lyles in the last three years, taking a Diamond League race in Rome on June 6.
Norman hasn’t raced a 200m since, opting out of it at the USATF Outdoor Championships in July and the world championships in Doha in three weeks. The world championships schedule has the 200m and 400m too close together to make the double feasible.
It doesn’t get much easier at the Olympics, where the 200m semifinals and final are on the two days between the 400m semifinals and final.
“It’s going to take a very, very, very special person to do something like that,” Norman said in July. “Is it feasible? Of course, it’s feasible. But maybe not feasible to perform very well. Shoot, is it enticing to do it? Yes.”
Norman has since decided not to go the route of Michael Johnson in 1996 and Allyson Felix in 2016; they both requested and were granted Olympic schedule changes to better accommodate the double.
Norman also noted a bet he made with coach Caryl Smith Gilbert. If he wins the 400m in Doha and Tokyo, he will be allowed to focus on the 100m in 2021.
“So hopefully, you know, I achieve those goals, and we start training for the 100m,” Norman said in July.
Lyles, the U.S. 200m champion, and Christian Coleman, the U.S. 100m champion, have both said they plan to attempt 100m-200m doubles next summer.
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