Paris - American sprinter Allyson Felix's
pursuit of a rare 200-400 metres double at the Rio Olympics gained momentum on
Monday when US officials asked the IAAF for a schedule change to make an
"We did receive an official request
today from USATF," Paul Hardy, competitions director for the International
Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), said in an email. "This will
be reviewed in the next few days."
Felix, the Olympic 200m gold medallist and
world 400m champion, is seeking to become only the third female to complete the
double in the Summer Games.
"Allyson is the most decorated female
athlete in IAAF history and should have the chance to go for a double,
competing in what likely will be her fourth and final Olympic Games," USA
Track & Field (USATF) CEO Max Siegel said in making the request.
"Such an achievement would elevate the
sport at the Games, and as a federation we owe it to her and to the sport as a
whole to make the request."
The current Rio schedule would make the
double a daunting challenge. Felix, winner of 20 Olympic and world championship
medals, would need to compete in the first round of the 200m 75 minutes before
the 400m final.
"Adjusting the schedule in my opinion
does not hurt anybody," coach Bob Kersee said.
Only twice has a female athlete won both at
the Olympics. Kersee-coached Valerie Brisco-Hooks claimed the honour in 1984
and France's Marie-Jose Perec won both in 1996.
The IAAF changed the schedule in 1996 so
Perec and American Michael Johnson could attempt their double with Johnson
breaking the world record in the 200m and winning the 400m.
"All our training is toward her doing
both," Kersee said. "We are going to double at our Olympic trials and
try and make the team in the 4 and the 2."
Felix, 30, has tried the 200-400m double
once on the global scene, finishing second in the 400m and third in the 200m at
the 2011 world championships.
She wanted to attempt the double at the
2015 world championships, but decided the schedule would be too difficult.
Felix instead blazed to victory in the 400m
with Dutch sprinter Dafne Schippers claiming the 200m in the fourth fastest
The two, along with Jamaican Olympic silver
medallist Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, likely will clash again in one of the
highlights of the Rio Olympics.