Veronica Campbell-Brown, Berlin 2009, photo by PhotoRun.net.
Track fans wait, in anticipation, for sprint battles between Tyson Gay, Usain Bolt and Asafa Powell. Yet, the savvy track fan knows of the epic battles over 200 meters between Veronica Campbell-Brown and Allyson Felix, which date back to 2003! On Saturday, June 12, at the adidas Grand Prix, Campbell-Brown and Felix will battle over 200 meters in their first race over that distance on U.S. soil! For track fans, that will be a real treat, as Campbell-Brown has edge in Olympic 200 wins (two) and Felix has the edge in World Championships (three). Who will
edge ahead on Saturday! Make sure you are watching, if you are not there!
Allyson Felix, World Indoor, 2010, Doha, photo by PhotoRun.net.
VERONICA CAMPBELL-BROWN, ALLYSON FELIX PREVIEW
THEIR FIRST 200-METER MATCH-UP ON U.S. SOIL
Sprinters Richard Thompson,
Daniel Bailey and Yohan Blake discuss Western Union Men’s 100m at
adidas Grand Prix pre-race media event
NEW YORK (June 10, 2010) —
When world record-holder Usain Bolt and American record-holder Tyson
Gay pulled out of the adidas Grand Prix due to injuries, they left the
door wide open not only for up-and-coming 100-meter specialists Richard Thompson, Daniel Bailey and Yohan Blake, but also for media focus on the now top rivalry of the meet: Veronica Campbell-Brown versus Allyson Felix.
Men’s 100m Preview
After Bolt, Gay and Asafa Powell, the next-three fastest up-and-comers,
arguably, are Thompson of Trinidad, the 2008 Olympic 100m silver
medalist; Bailey of Antigua, the 2010 World Indoor 60m bronze medalist;
and Blake of Jamaica, the 2006 World Junior 100m bronze medalist.
“If you’re being realistic, when those three guys [Bolt, Gay, Powell]
are running, it’s very tough; however, as a competitor, whenever you’re
running against any one of those top three, it brings out the best in
you,” said Thompson, whose achieved his 9.89 personal best at the
Beijing Games. “It’s not like we’re looking forward to get away from
them; we were looking forward to running with them so that we can try
to get our best times.”
Thompson came close to his PR at the ExxonMobil Bislett Games, the IAAF
Diamond League meeting in Oslo on June 4, when he finished second in
the 100m in 9.90. Neither Bailey nor Blake have demonstrated this level
of fitness this year–Bailey placed fifth in the 100m (10.13) at Grande
Premio meet in Rio de Janeiro, and Blake ran 10.20 to win the 100m at
the Spanish Town G.C. Foster Classic.
Crowd support from the Jamaicans rocked the bleachers and echoed it all
the way to Manhattan when Bolt achieved the meet record (9.72) in 2008.
If Blake is feeling pressure to live up to these high expectations, he
didn’t let on at the pre-race press conference.
“As they would say in Jamaica, I’m next in line, so I’m going to bring
it,” said Blake. “Anything is possible. I’m the second guy–winning is a
Women’s 200m Preview
The long-time rivalry between 200-meter specialists Veronica
Campbell-Brown of Jamaica and Allyson Felix of the United States has,
incredibly, never before been showcased on U.S. soil. Aside from their
four-year age difference (Felix, 24, is junior), the two are quite
evenly matched–one or the other has been ranked No. 1 in the world
every year since 2004, and one or the other has recorded the fastest
time in the world six out of the last seven years.
“We’ve been going at it for a long time, and I’m excited to bring it to the U.S. and perform on Saturday,” said Felix.
Campbell-Brown’s personal best 21.74 at the 2008 Olympics is the
fastest 200m in the past 10 years; the next fastest (21.81) belongs to
Felix. While Campbell-Brown is a two-time Olympic champion at 200m
(2004, ’08), Felix is a three-time World champion over 200m (2005, ’07,
Both women are pioneers in the sport: Campbell-Brown was the first
Jamaican women to win a 100m global title (1999) and the first Jamaican
of either gender to win a world championships sprint title (2007), and
Felix was the youngest member of the U.S. team at the 2004 Olympics
(she won silver in the 200m).
Despite their rivalry, Campbell-Brown and Felix are united in their
goals to serve as positive role models for the next generation, and in
their joint desire to garner more attention and media support for
“The men are breaking records left and right–and in our situation, it’s
a little more difficult, and it may not be as exciting to not always be
so close to a record,” said Felix. “But that’s what we have to go up
against, and we have to fight for that attention.”
“I think we are making progress in the right direction,” Campbell-Brown
added. “But, we’re not breaking the world records because it’s much
harder; it’s not that we don’t want to break it. Eventually, some
female in this era will get the world record. I don’t think that alone
should allow us not to be treated equally.”
Both athletes agree that the sport has come a long way for women,
thanks to the efforts of previous champions like Jackie Joyner Kersee,
Felix’s role model. “I really looked up to Jackie Joyner-Kersee,” she
said. “She’s such an amazing person on and off the track, and I’d love
to be able to give that same feeling and relationship to young women
and people coming up.”
Campbell-Brown assists youngsters at home in Jamaica as well, by
boarding young students and donating necessary items like computers to
her old high school.
Their shared humanitarian efforts off the track make it even harder to
distinguish an end to the parallels in the lives and careers of
Campbell-Brown and Felix. If recent performances can give any
indication as to who currently possesses the upper hand, consider this:
Campbell-Brown’s 2010 World Indoor 60m title proves that she has
vicious speed and a fast start; whereas Felix’s focus on the 400m
earlier this season may have sharpened her kick.
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