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Newz Forum: OLYMPICS: US teenager gets silver in 200m

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posted on Aug, 26 2004 @ 09:58 AM
Allyson Felix simply left the track after winning a silver medal in the 200 meters Wednesday night.

No victory lap, no flag waving, no celebrating. The 18-year-old sprinter is probably too young to know any better.

Veronica Campbell of Jamaica won the gold medal in a personal-best 22.05 seconds, while Felix set a world junior record in 22.18 seconds, breaking the mark of 22.19 set by the Soviet Union's Natalya Bochina in 1980. Debbie Ferguson took bronze in 22.30.

Veronica Campbell of Jamaica crosses the finish line as silver medalist Allyson Felix, right, follows. (Ben Curtis / AP)

From their seats in the stands along the backstretch, the Felix family could hardly believe what their girl had done in such a short time.

"I don't think she's realized yet what she accomplished," said her father, Paul. "If she had, she would have taken a victory lap."

Added mom Marlean: "It didn't register."

Felix had a few jitters before the race but, when it was time to run, she was as calm as usual. Nothing seems to fluster her, so why would the biggest race of her young career? She got off to a decent start, but Campbell took the lead on the curve.

Felix tried to catch her, but came up just short.

Felix was happy with her finish. "I have a lot of confidence and I'm very excited about the future," she said.

"It was a great race. Veronica executed the curve very well," Felix said. "When I was coming down the stretch, it was a lot of heart and giving it all I had.

"I feel I took a lot away from it. This is just a start for me."

Felix was tabbed for stardom a year ago, when her winning time of 22.52 in the California state championships 200 broke Marion Jones' record for the fastest time in a high school-only competition.

Then came her time of 22.51 at the Mount SAC Relays, breaking Jones' nine-year-old U.S. junior and high school record of 22.58. A month later, Felix broke her own U.S. junior record, winning a meet in Mexico City in 22.11. That one did not count as a world record because there was no drug testing at the meet, a requirement for any world mark to be official.

She made the U.S. team for the world championships and then turned pro. But she struggled in her first year as a professional, advancing only to the quarterfinals at the worlds. By that meet, she had run in so many races that Felix was exhausted.

With the help of coach Pat Connolly, best known for helping Evelyn Ashford win the gold at the 1984 Olympics, Felix became more patient and used 2004 to prepare for the U.S. trials. Her victory there last month showed she was a contender for gold in Athens.

Campbell added another medal to her collection. The University of Arkansas student won bronze in the 100 earlier in the week and has a silver medal in the 400-meter relay from the Sydney Olympics.

Campbell missed the 2003 outdoor season with a knee injury, but started 2004 with the NCAA indoor title in the 200.

She would have run at the outdoor championships in the 100 and 200, but was disallowed by the NCAA when she didn't run in the regional qualifier.

Arkansas officials believed Campbell would receive a medical waiver that would allowed her to run at the championship meet, but were denied. She turned pro in June.

"I knew I had the race won when I cleared the curve first," Campbell said.

So what's next for Felix? Fame and fortune? Track superstardom?

Try college classes Tuesday - she's starting her sophomore year at the University of Southern California.

[Edited on 8/26/2004 by Ben]

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