RBR Talks Track with Allyson Felix, by Larry Eder

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Photo by Photorun.net.

Allyson Felix has been a fixture in our sport since her freshman year of high school. She has appeared on the covers of California Track & Running News, Athletes Only and American Track & Field. She has also graced many a cover of Track & Field News as well.

Allyson has also always listened to her own drummer. She went pro as a freshman in college, completed her education on time, and has been a professional athlete since the age of eighteen. Her major sponsor is adidas, her coach is Bob Kersee, and her agent is Renaldo Nehemiah.

Felix is an athlete of some complexity. She is a veteran 100 meter runner. Yet, at this time, she is a one of the top two 200 meter runners in the world. However, her best event may be in front of her: the 400 meters. Besides that, she is one of the ablest 4 x100 meter and 4 x 400 meter relay runners on the planet, period.

I am fascinated about the thought and planning that goes into a footwear company picking up various athletes. I am always concerned about athletes going pro from high school. For Allyson, it has been a natural progression. adidas picked Allyson Felix, and they have definitely received their moneys' worth. Not only does she continue to shine on the world stage, Felix is an athlete who is well respected by her competitors and competitive sponsors. To be respected by one's competition, the people who spend time with you, day in, day out, is the highest complement in this sport.

Allyson Felix will be joining many of the world's top athletes in competing this coming Saturday, May 16, in Carson at the adidas Track Classic

RBR: Allyson, what shoes do you train in?

Allyson: I run in the adi-zero and the super nova most days.

RBR: You have been a professional athlete since you finished high school, any thoughts on that life?

Allyson: It has been good.

RBR: To be a professional athlete requires spending enough time in the discipline and setting priorities--are you still enjoying what you are doing?

Allyson: Yes, I enjoy it still ( smiles). It is important to enjoy what I do. I put extreme emphasis on education as I have dreams of being a teacher.

RBR: Last year was an Olympic year. How did you recharge after last season?

Allyson: I took time off, more than ever before, to rejuvenate. I have different interests. I love watching other athletes. I am a big sports fan. I love watching other sports, and how athletes competes. I like the atmosphere of other sports too.

RBR: What are your goals for 2009?

Allyson: The 200 meters at the Worlds ( Berlin, 2009, August 2009) and to some 400 meters.

RBR: What are your racing plans?

Allyson: Mt. SAC, Penn, Doha, adidas Track Classic, Reebok, plus a few others...

RBR: How do you feel about the relays, the 4 x 100 meters and the 4 x 400 meters?

Allyson: I like the relays, but that is up to the coaching staff.

RBR: Tell us about your racing event plans for 2009?

Allyson: I will race a few 100 meter races to work on speed. The rational is that those races will help my 200 meters come along. I will also race some 400 meter races.

RBR Tell us about your feelings over the 400 meters?

Allyson: I have a love/hate relationship with the 400 meters (laughing). I have a 400 meter base. It is kind of, whatever, not a huge focus. If they need me though, I will do my thing ( run the 4 x 400 meter relay).

RBR: adidas, your sponsor, supports the Golden West, you ran that in high school, correct?

Allyson: I had great experiences at the Golden West! I had a lot of fun. I really enjoyed high school, the traveling, my high school friends, I had that time to enjoy...

RBR: Where do you see your career going? Will you compete through 2012? Or Longer?

Allyson: I definitely want to do another Olympics. I have a lot to accomplish yet. It is not over for me. It just goes back to the reason why you run. From a religious standpoint, I want to use the gift that God has given me. There is the bigger picture...

RBR: Today, you are working out with Veronica Campbell Brown, your main competition in the world over 200 meters. how do you do that?

Allyson: I like Veronica. The great thing about athletics is that we leave it on the track. There is nothing personal. It is fine.

RBR: Tell us about your training group at UCLA, anything change this year?

Allyson: We have a group of twelve at UCLA. We added Natasha Hastings and Rodney Martin to the group.

RBR: What did you learn from the Olympic year?

Allyson: The main thing that I learnt from the Olympic year, is that there are so many demands. I would definitely cut back on the travel in the future.

RBR: Where will you focus your racing in the future?

Allyson: I will always run the 200 meters. I do not mind the 400 meters.

RBR: What about the 400 meter hurdles?

Allyson: (Laughing), Coach Kersee loves the 400 meter hurdles!

RBR: How do your workouts go with Coach Kersee?

Allyson: (Smiles). We warm up alone, then we get with him. He can be pretty demanding, but we are doing what we need to do. We do our weights on our own. He holds long strategy talks. He yells sometimes, but all is good.

RBR: What are key elements for the young sprinter to understand?

Allyson: For the young sprinter, going fast in the 100 meters and 200 meters are fun. But, you have to pace yourself.

RBR: Any thoughts on the Jamaica VS. U.S. duel meets?

Allyson: I think it is good for the sport, but I want to know how it will play out.

RBR: Have you met Doug Logan, the new CEO at USATF?

Allyson: Yes, I have met him, and do not have any issues (with him).


RBR: Any comments on the Project 30 announcements, on how Logan and crew want to change our sport?

Allyson: Nothing that blaring on Project 30. The trials was interesting positives and negatives---glad it took place and liked that Project 30 is getting some feedback. My only concern, is how the schedule will be set up, as it will be a shorter period of time. From a fan standpoint, the atmosphere was great. I had family members come up and they enjoyed the trials.

RBR: What events did you do when you first started in athletics?

Allyson: Hurdles, sprints, long jump, yeah....

RBR: Did you try to hurdle?

Allyson: Going that fast and trying to clear the hurdle--the idea of falling does not excite me!


RBR: Where do you stand on relay camps, relay teams, making our US teams better at the relays?

Allyson: I just came out and ran. I do see the benefit of longer preparations before competition. The hard part, is people across America. There are 165 athletes in the relay program, but, really, 20 athletes are going to select themselves.


end of interview______

This interview was done in Santa Monica in mid March 2009. Special thanks to Lyn Famiglietti, adidas communications, Spencer Nel, adidas global Sports marketing. Special thanks to Allyson Felix, who has always been not only a wonderful athlete to watch compete, but a compelling interview.

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