EUGENE, Oregon (Reuters) – Olympic champion Allyson Felix stunningly failed to make the U.S. team for Rio in her favourite event, the 200 metres, as her dreams for a rare sprint Olympic double ended at the American trials on Sunday.
A late lean by the world 400 metres champion was not enough for Felix as she missed qualifying for Rio by one-hundredth of a second by finishing fourth in 22.54 seconds.
World champion Tori Bowie gained the victory in the 200 in 22.25 seconds with collegian Deajah Stevens (22.30) and a lunging Jenna Prandini (22.53) outduelling Felix.
Only the top three finishers in each event at the cut-throat trials qualify for the Olympics.
“I gave it all I had but it just wasn’t there today,” said Felix, who two months ago could not even walk because of a sprained ankle.
But it was the lack of conditioning, not the ankle, that slowed her on Sunday, she said
“The speed just wasn’t there,” said Felix, who had not run a 200 metres this year until the trials, where she won the 400 metres earlier in the 10-day competition.
Bowie watched the 2012 Olympics from home on television. Now she is going to Rio.
“It’s like a dream come true, coming to the Olympic trails and leaving being the champion,” she said.
The concluding day of the American trials also produced the fastest 400 metres hurdles in the world this year, a run of 52.88 seconds by Dalilah Muhammad, and an upset in the men’s race as the 35-year-old Kerron Clement won in 48.50 seconds to make his third Olympic team.
The third place finisher in the women’s race, 16-year-old Sydney McLaughlin, became the youngest athlete to ever qualify for the Olympics in the 400 metres hurdles.
Her time of 54.15 seconds was a world junior record.
“I can’t believe this is happening right now,” McLaughlin said. “My mind was on finishing the race and eating a cheeseburger.
“Just hearing the word Olympics was a dream in the back of my mind.”
Johnny Dutch was not as fortunate. The year’s fastest men’s 400 metres hurdler faded to fifth in the closing metres to miss the U.S. team.
Collegian Byron Robinson claimed second (48.79) behind Clement and Olympic silver medallist Michael Tinsley took the third spot (48.82)
Olympic champion Jenn Suhr won her 10th national pole vault with a clearance of 4.80 metres with Sandi Morris the runner-up at 4.75 metres.
World indoor champion Matthew Centrowitz and Jenny Simpson won the 1,500 metres finals, Centrowitz running 3:34.09 and Simpson taking the women’s race in 4:04.74.
Hard-luck Brenda Martinez, who failed to make the U.S. team in the 800 metres after a late race entanglement, finished third in 4:06.16 to qualify for the Games.
Olympic silver medallist Erik Kynard won the high jump at 2.29 metres, Molly Huddle was first in the women’s 5,000 metres (15:05.01) and Barbara Nwaba topped the heptathlon with 6,494 points.
(Editing by Andrew Both)