Felix can go for Rio double after schedule change

Sat Jan 16, 2016 11:06pm EST
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By Gene Cherry

(Reuters) - American sprinter Allyson Felix will get a rare chance to win gold in both the 200 and 400 meters after the global athletics governing body changed the Rio Olympics competition schedule.

"I am excited for the opportunity to attempt this incredibly difficult feat," Felix said on her Twitter account. "The schedule was just the first step. The next step is to make the U.S. Olympic team."

The change, made by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) and accepted by the IOC and Rio organizers, gives Felix more time between her opening round of the 200 meters and final of the 400 meters, making the double plausible, the IAAF said on Saturday.

The Olympic 200 meters gold medalist and world 400 meters champion will now have more than 13 hours between races instead the 75 minutes allowed under the original schedule.

"I am excited," Felix's coach Bob Kersee told Reuters. "She has wanted to do this double and the schedule change gives her a better opportunity to win more medals for the United States."

Felix had sought the change in hopes of becoming only the third woman to win both events in the same Olympics.

American Valerie Brisco-Hooks claimed the honor at the 1984 Los Angeles Games and France's Marie-Jose Perec won both at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, joining men's Atlanta double winner Michael Johnson.

Kersee had pushed hard for the change, frequently saying that 200-400 meters runners should be given the same chance that 100-200m sprinters have in the Olympics.   Continued...

Aug 27, 2015; Beijing, China; Allyson Felix (USA) poses with the United States flag after winning the womens 400m in 49.26 during the IAAF World Championships in Athletics at National Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports