Allyson Felix Teleconference Transcript
USA Track & Field on Tuesday, May 27, hosted a national teleconference with star sprinter Allyson Felix. The 17-year-old senior at Los Angeles Baptist High School will compete this Sunday, June 1, at the Home Depot Invitational in the 100 meters. The meet is the third stop on USA Track & Field’s 2003 Outdoor Golden Spike Tour and will be broadcast live on ESPN2 from 3:30-5 p.m. Eastern Time.
In 2003, Felix has on four occasions tied or broken a U.S. junior record, and on May 3 she became the world junior record holder in the 200 meters with her time of 22.11 seconds in Mexico City. In April she had previously broken Marion Jones’ American junior record in the 200 with a time of 22.51 at the Mt. SAC Relays. Indoors, Felix in the semifinals tied, then in the final beat the American junior record at the USA Indoor Championships, finishing second in the final with her record time of 23.14.
For a full biography of Allyson Felix, visit the Athlete Bios section of www.usatf.org <http://www.usatf.org/> . Also visit usatf.org for information on the Golden Spike Tour.
Below are excerpts from Tuesday’s teleconference. Joining her for the teleconference were USATF CEO Craig Masback and AEG President and CEO Tim Leiweke.
CRAIG MASBACK: We are so excited to be debuting the Home Depot Invitational in the Los Angeles market. Based on the number of tickets already sold, we know it’s going to be an exciting event. The event organizers made an intelligent effort not only to have the world’s best athletes present, but also to have local and regional stars as well. Allyson Felix is a local star who has become a worldwide story. It was exciting to have her as part of our World Indoor Championships team this year, and we welcome her to the Golden Spike Tour.
TIM LEIWEKE: The Home Depot Center was three years in the making. It was originally a soccer stadium, then we included a tennis stadium. We reached out to Craig, and it was our belief that we could have a world-class track and field facility in Southern California. We also wanted to give USA Track & Field a facility to use for bids for events like the World Cup and World Championships, and we’re pleased that we will be the site of the 2006 IAAF World Cup, the first time the World Cup will be held on U.S. soil.
Q: Allyson, tell us about the year you’ve had so far.
ALLYSON FELIX: I’ve been really excited about this year and just accomplishing my goals from last year. I’ve learned so much, just on the trips. I’ve also learned valuable things interacting with other athletes.
Q: Talk about your brother’s role in getting you into sport. [Brother Wes was the 2002 U.S. 200m junior champion and is a sophomore on the University of Southern California track team.]
A: My brother, when I was in middle school, was running in high school. I was out there watching him and supporting him. When I came to high school, I was encouraged by him and my dad to come out for track. He’s played a big role in encouraging me.
Q: Did you not start running until high school?
A: I really started running my first year of high school. In middle school, we have only 1 day a week of track and field.
Q: When people mention your name, the name of Marion Jones comes up, too. She’s from Southern California, like you. Did you ever have a chance to follow her career? What do you think of the comparisons?
A: I definitely followed her career. She is someone I look up to. I understand where people are coming from when they make the comparison, and I take that as a compliment, to be mentioned in same sentence as Marion. But I also want to be something different. … I’m my own person.
Q: Do you still plan to attend USC in the fall, or might you go professional?
A: Right now I’m planning on going to USC, but I’m saying nothing is impossible and things can still happen.
Q: Would you consider postponing your college career because of Olympics in 2004?
A: Either way, I will definitely be focusing on the Olympics. If I go to USC, they will work with me and they know that’s my goal.
Q: When did your focus change from the state level to international?
A: At the beginning of the year, my goal was always to break Marion Jones’ [U.S. junior] record. After that, I readjusted my goals. Now I’m focused on making the World Championships team.
Q: How do you compare your abilities in the 100 to the 200?
A: The 200 is obviously my stronger race.
Q: You also have the California state high school championships coming up (June 6-7). With the Home Depot Invitational, Mexico City, and USA Nationals, that’s a lot of big meets. How are you juggling it all?
A: Everything is going well, I’m keeping it all in perspective. In the long run, the post-high school season is in my mind.
Q: Have you always wanted to be a sprinter?
A: That’s my only interest. When I was little, we used to race against each other. It’s always been something I’ve enjoyed.
Q: Were you immediately good?
A: A couple weeks after I came out for track, my coach noticed I was kind of fast. I was running a flying 60. He checked the time, and checked the distance again.
Q: Why are you better in 200 than the 100?
A: Definitely right now, the main thing is technique. For the 100, I have a lot to learn and my start needs to improve. In the 200, I have more time. Once I get my start perfected, it will benefit me more.
Q: What are you missing out on in high school?
A: I can’t go to prom – it’s the same day as the state prelims.
Q: Veteran sprinters don’t like to get beaten by high schoolers. Have you encountered any negativity?
A: They’ve all been really nice and supportive about that. I haven’t encountered any negativity.
Q: What kind of workouts do you do?
A: It depends on where we are in the season. We lift 3 times per week, then run intervals, hills and drills on other days.
Q: What about a typical Wednesday?
A: Right now, it would probably be six 150s, run all-out with a break after every two. We’d run them in 16 to 17 seconds.
A: Do you have a favorite workout?
A: I enjoy the weight room a lot. It gives me some variety.
Q: Was there one moment when you were convinced you could run with elite athletes?
A: I think it came over time. I think in 10th grade, when I ran at U.S. nationals, it really helped me.
Q: What are you looking for in your race this Sunday?
A: I’m basically looking to find out where I’m at and see how I do against the competition. I don’t really have a time in mind – I’d like to PR.
Q: Do you expect to win the 200 at nationals, and have you thought about what it would be like to run Worlds?
A: I’ve definitely thought about it. I go into every race with the goal to win. My goal is to make the team. I’m excited – I know if I make it, the experience will benefit me.
Q: It is better or worse for you that Marion is not running this year?
A: I definitely wish she was around. I look forward to racing her, and I know there will be plenty of times in the future.
Q: Do you find yourself trailing at the top of straightaway?
A: I try to run a strong curve, and pretty much I’ve done that. My closing speed is one of the best parts of my race, and I do rely on that a lot.
Q: How does it feel to be called the future of sprinting?
A: It feels good. I’m looking forward to what the future holds.
Q: Were you ever going to do other sports?
A: I played basketball my freshman year. That was something I’d done growing up. After that I ran track.
Q: Who do you consider the greatest sprinter, male or female?
A: I like a lot of things about a lot of people and parts or races. FloJo and Marion are at the top of the list, definitely.
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