US Sprints Stars Jeremy Wariner And Allyson Felix Look Back At 2010 And Ahead To 2011
November 30, 2010
In conjunction with the World Athletics Gala in Monaco last week, we talked to some of the top stars of the sport. Below, we give you the highlights from US sprint stars Jeremy Wariner and Allyson Felix.
Jeremy Wariner Fully Recovered From Knee Injury, Ready For 43s In 2011
Jeremy Wariner dominated the 400 from 2004 to 2007. Then in 2008, in a hotly debated move, he dumped long-time coach Clyde Hart (famed 400m coach at Baylor and of Michael Johnson), and would only get silver in Beijing, nearly a full second behind LaShawn Merritt (Wariner only ran 44.74 in Beijing, although he would run 43.82 a week later). Jeremy got back with Clyde for the 2009 and 2010 seasons. After only running 44.60 in 2009, in 2010, he was undefeated in the Diamond League circuit with a SB of 44.13. Wariner was pleased with 2010, but said he was "a little disappointed I didn't get down to 43s."
While most pundits (well, at least ourselves) focused on Jeremy's coaching switches and his fall and now rise in performances, one thing we did not pay much attention to was Jeremy's health problems. Jeremy had knee surgery in September of 2009 (the surgery was a scope procedure for a meniscus tear, but then they found a Baker's Cyst that was causing problems with Jeremy's hamstring, so both things were fixed) and when he talks of his comeback he is talking of his comeback from surgery and the hamstring problems he feels hampered him.
As for 2010, Jeremy says he "lost all my strength early on" and "didn't get that back until June." The focus is to keep building up his strength and to dip into the 43s at least a couple of times in 2011.
For those who think the best days of Jeremy may be in the rear view mirror, they may not have contemplated a rejuvenated Clyde Hart. Jeremy said of his coach, "Towards the end of last season, I saw something in Coach Hart I probably hadn't seen in four years. He just found a new spark and he's getting excited. For a while he was getting tired with traveling (the circuit) and didn't know if he wanted to travel as much anymore. Towards the end of last season, something hit him ... and it was like the early '90s with Michael (Johnson). So this season is going to be exciting for both of us."
The other news of note which Jeremy has not discussed with coach Hart is that Jeremy may try at the Tyson Invite in Arkansas to break the indoor world record of 44.57 by Kerron Clement. Jeremy says usually indoors is not on his plans but if he feels he can get the record, he may give it a shot.
Video Of Jeremy's Comments From Monaco Below (8:58)
Allyson Felix: Looking For The Elusive Olympic Gold (She May Go For 4 Of Them In 2012)
Allyson Felix is one of the poster children of USA Track and Field - and for good reason. She has been consistently at the top and won the last 3 World Titles at 200m. In 2010, she won the Diamond League titles at both 200m and 400m.
The only "blemish' on her record has been her performance at the Olympics. Two Olympics for Allyson, two individual silver medals. It would be wrong, however, to think Allyson has choked on the biggest stage. 2004 was a surprise for Allyson, as she made her first global final and got a silver medal with a season's best in the Olympic final. In 2008, Allyson ran another season's best and was beaten by Veronica Campbell-Brown (VCB), who ran a time in the Olympic final, 21.74, that Allyson still has not run. It's rare for an athlete to acknowledge flat-out getting beaten, but when asked about her success at Worlds versus the Olympics, Allyson - in a show of honesty - pointed out herself that Veronica Campbell-Brown ran a time in the 2008 Olympic final faster than she's ever run. Allyson said, "I think it's clear she outraced me. She ran faster than I ever have before in 2008 ... I was clearly outraced in both (Olympics) and I don't think it was anything more than that."
As for 2011, Allyson plans to continue running the 200 and 400 with a few 100s sprinkled in. One of the reasons Allyson keeps running the 100 is that she wants to run both relays in 2012 at the Olympics. If things go well for Allyson, she could try to become America's golden girl with golds in the 200, 400, 4 x 100 and 4 x 400.
Before she can think about getting four golds, Felix will have to make sure she gets one. In 2010, despite winning both the Diamond League titles at 200 and 400, she did not have the best time in the world in either event, did not go sub-22 or sub-50, and did not set a PR in either event. In 2010, Allyson did get more comfortable running the 400, as she ran it more often. On the 400 she said, "It was decent. The 400 never came together for me ... I felt good about it ... I learned a lot of things."
2010, however, was an "off year" for most elite track and field athletes, with no World Championship or Olympics, and Allyson admits that coach Bobby Kersee "backed off" a bit in her training and that she raced more than she would in a Championship year. More intense training doesn't always lead to more success, but there are only a handful of athletes in the world who wouldn't have taken Allyson's less intense year.
Allyson Felix In Monaco
Note: Allyson Felix just turned 25 and Jeremy Wariner is only 26, so they should have a few good years left in the tank. NCAA stud Sam Chelanga is actually 9 months older than Allyson and a year younger than Jeremy.
More From Monaco: LRC Juantorena, Coe, Kipketer And Rudisha All Together In One Room For The First Time Ever There may never be a night like it for the 800m. The last four world record holders, Alberto Juantorena, Seb Coe, Wilson Kipketer and David Rudisha all gathered together to reminisce about their record runs, to pay their respects to one another and to discuss the uniqueness of the 800m. It was a truly special occasion and these greats were almost giddy about it. They mesmerized the room for 40 minutes. Juantorena and Kipketer wanted their own photos, Coe said the photo would be his Christmas card, and Juantorena also wanted a video of the occasion.