BEIJING (Reuters) - Allyson Felix will not decide whether to try a sprint double at next year’s Rio de Janeiro Olympics based on her performance at the Beijing world championships, she said on Friday.
The Olympic 200m gold medalist will be moving up to the 400m for Beijing with the possibility of doing both at the Rio Games, schedule permitting.
“I would love to have the opportunity to have the choice to be able to do it regardless of what happens here,” Felix said at a U.S. news conference.
“As of now I think the schedule is like it is here so it is something we will have to see.”
International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach offered a bit of hope later on Friday.
“The Olympic program has been defined in principle, but if we have a special case where we can help an athlete, we would still be ready to discuss,” Bach told a news conference.
“It would have repercussions on others. (We will) have to see if it would be possible or not. I can’t tell you what the outcome of such a discussion would be.”
Outgoing IAAF president Lamine Diack also seemed amenable to discussing a change, but said, “if we want to accommodate each and every single athlete, it will be very difficult.”
The move is not without precedent. The 1996 Atlanta Olympic schedule was revised to permit sprinters to compete in both the 200m and 400m and American Michael Johnson and France’s Marie-José Pérec both successfully completed the double.
Felix decided not to try the 200-400m double in Beijing because she would have needed to run the 400m final an hour after the semi-finals of the 200m on Aug. 27. The 200m final is the next day.
The schedule for the 2016 Olympics, as announced by the IAAF, is not much friendlier.
The most decorated female in athletics history would have to compete in the first round of the 200m 75 minutes before the 400m final under the current Rio schedule.
She and coach Bob Kersee chose to run the 400m over the 200m at the world championships because of the challenge.
”It was definitely very difficult (decision),“ she said. ”I think everybody knows I love the 200. So to think of going to a championships and not being in it is difficult.
”I can’t even imagine when I have to watch and see results, and just wishing I could be in it.
“But I do feel like it was time to step up.”
The 400 does not come as natural, though.
”The most difficult part is being patient,“ Felix said. ”I am a true sprinter and I like to go fast all the time.
“So when you try to slow me down, the strategy is a little different to really lock into that. I think with experience I (will) become more comfortable with that.”
Winner of 17 global medals, 13 of them gold, Felix missed out on any medal at the 2013 world championships after pulling up in the 200m final with a hamstring injury.
There will be an opportunity for three more in Beijing.
Along with the 400m, Felix is planning to run both the 4x100 and 4x400 metres relays.
Editing by Sudipto Ganguly