LONDON (Reuters) – After a nightmarish 2016, Allyson Felix is hoping for “a redo” this year as the American defends her 400 metres title at the World Athletics Championships.
“I feel like I am in really good shape right now,” America’s most decorated female sprinter said following a U.S. news conference on Thursday. “So I am looking forward to seeing what I can do.
She goes into the championships the favorite and holder of the outdoor season’s fastest 400 meters, 49.65 seconds.
“I wish I could have a redo of last year,” she told Reuters.
“I think it is a different year, and I try not to bring any of that into this year.”
“That” was tearing ligaments in her right ankle in a freakish gym accident that put her 2016 season in jeopardy before she rebounded to make the U.S. Olympic team in the 400 meters but narrowly missed out on a Rio spot in her favorite event, the 200 meters.
Then Shaunae Miller of the Bahamas lunged across the finish line in the 400m Rio final to deny Felix a second individual Olympic gold medal.
“It felt like a movie,” Felix, the winner of six Olympic golds, said. “I never could imagine that many things would happen last year.
“But I am grateful that I went through it. I am grateful to see how strong I was and that I could really go up against things like that.
“There were points I didn’t know if it was really going to happen,” she said of going to Rio.
Only for that reason will another gold in the 400 feel special, Felix said.
Already with nine world gold medals, she hopes to round that total up to an even dozen with victories in the 400 and the 4×100 and 4×400 meters relays, where she also won gold in the Rio Olympics.
Now aged 31, she hopes to continue her career through the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, which means she will have an opportunity to earn more world gold at the 2019 championships.
There might also be an opportunity to return to the 200 meters, where she was the London Olympic champion and three-times world champion.
But never will she try the 400 hurdles as a questioner hinted might happen.
“I love that I am a versatile athlete,” Felix said. “I love to do the 1, 2, 4 and relays but the 4 is definitely where it stops for me. You won’t see me in any hurdles.”
(Editing by Pritha Sarkar)