Allyson Felix: Sprinter Will Overcome Stacked Field to Win 200-Meter Gold

Timothy RappFeatured ColumnistAugust 8, 2012

Aug 7, 2012; London, United Kingdom; Allyson Felix (USA) competes in a women's 200m semifinal during the 2012 London Olympic Games at Olympic Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

In 2004, it was silver. In 2008, silver again. But now, it's her time.

When the women line up in the 200-meter final, it will be Allyson Felix who finally earns gold and wins her signature event.

Sure, this field is loaded. The final includes Americans Sanya Richards-Ross (400-meter gold medalist) and Carmelita Jeter (100-meter silver medalist) and Jamaicans Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce (two-time 100-meter gold medalist) and Veronica Campbell-Brown (two-time 200-meter gold medalist), who of course has kept Felix from ever earning gold.

It's as compelling a field as you're going to find. So why will Felix overcome them all?

For one, she's improved her speed. As Tim Layden of Sports Illustrated wrote, Felix trained hard for the 100 meter dash to regain some pep in her step after a disappointing 2011 World Championships:

But her planning was never about winning a medal in the 100 meters. It was about using the 100 meters to restore her speed and enable her first Olympic individual gold medal in the 200. On Wednesday night at the Olympic Stadium in London, Felix will run in the 200 meter final. Her yearlong plan to rediscover her speed has worked. On June 30 at the U.S. Olympic Trials in Eugene, she won the 200 in 21.69 seconds, the sixth-fastest time in history, faster than Marita Koch, Marlies Gohr or Heike Dreschler ever ran.

And if you saw her semifinal run on Tuesday, you know it has worked. Felix absolutely cruised down the stretch and still posted a time of 22.31 seconds, basically without breaking a sweat.

It doesn't hurt that Felix is widely considered the favorite to win this race or that her endearing personality makes her easy to root for. Plus, who doesn't love a story about an athlete that has fallen just short in this race twice before and has worked tirelessly to ensure that the third time is the charm?

Plus, this is Felix's event and she's in her prime. Richards-Ross' main focus was the 400. Fraser-Pryce and Jeter are 100-meter specialists. Campbell-Brown hasn't been particularly fast in the event this year.

This should be Felix's moment. Scratch that—this will be her moment.

Her training is where it needs to be. Her speed is back. The field is competitive, but not necessarily suited to best her in this race. Her motivation to win gold couldn't be higher. And her country is most certainly behind her.

In a sprinting event, anything can happen. A split-second delay on a start or simply "one of those days" can keep a runner from earning gold.

But I don't think anything is going to stop Felix. Not this year. 

It's her time.


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