‘Nice girl’ Felix third time lucky

She was accused of being too relaxed in Beijing. Coming as overwhelming favourite, with two world championship titles to her name, Allyson Felix had expected it to be an easy walk in the park.
One of her key aim was to be a role model and for that she had some other commitments too. She voluntarily submitted herself for extra anti-doping test as part of a programme called Project Believe and it successfully restored some image of US sprinters, who were tainted by numerous dope scandals.
It gave her an image of a ‘nice girl’ and needless to say made her some kind of role model. But what needed most for her to be a real role model is the race itself and it is where Felix failed agonisingly.
Instead of seeing her tall on the podium, Felix discovered Jamaican Veronica Campbell-Brown stole the show once again. She lost 200m-sprint to Veronica in Athens too, but was not at least an upset.
She rather announced her arrival at world stage with silver medal in Athens Olympics. She dominated the race completely over the next four years and was expecting her success to be culminated in Beijing, but the script did not go as she had envisaged.
Life has taught her a lot since her unexpected failure in Beijing and she had had gone though a lot of changes too. The one she changed most is her ‘nice girl’ image which came as a real help.
Jackie Joyner-Kersee, winner of three Olympic gold medals in heptathlon and long jump and the wife of her coach Bobby Kersee, had once advised her to start 100m seriously in order to be successful in 200m sprint.
After she finished again as silver medallist in Beijing, Felix had no choice but to take the advice of Jackie, hailed as America’s one of the all-time great athletes, seriously.
But it was not very easy for her to qualify for America in 100 metres, which was already crowded. The trial for London Olympics could be an example of how difficult it could be.
She finished tied with Jeneba Tarmoh for the third and final spot in US trial last June, crossing finish line in identical 11.068 seconds. At first Tarmoh was judged to have beaten Felix for bronze, therefore earning a place in the 2012 Olympic Games in London.
However, judges later said the two had finished in a dead heat. After deciding against a coin flip the two were set to race each other to determine who would hold on to the final Olympic qualifying spot.
But Tarmoh pulled out of the race, saying she did not have to run again after already initially being given a place by the judges. Felix, once regarded as ‘nice girl’, did not really bother and grabbed her chance.
The qualification in 100-metre sprint brought back the necessary aggression she was badly missing and the reward was there for everybody to watch. She pushed her one-time nemesis Veronica to fourth place and edged past two-time world’s fasted lady Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce to finish 200m in 21.88.
The tension in her face that was reflected on the big giant screen before the race was quickly gone and it was all smiles after she crossed the line, adding an Olympic title to her two silver and three world championships 200m gold medals.
‘It’s been a long time coming. Before the race, I just reflected on the journey I’ve taken. I thought back to Beijing and seeing my family at the end of the race and breaking down. Tonight I saw them and I was just completely happy. Crossing the line was just a flood of emotions,’ Felix said at the press conference.
Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, who was also in her first serious 200m race, fought with her neck-and-neck before the slender and long-legged Felix found another gear in the last quarter of the race to come home a stride in front.
‘I knew there was a lot of speed behind me so I focused on getting out the best I could and kept pushing. I didn’t have any idea where anyone else was. I was in the zone,’ said Felix.

-With New Age input

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