SACRAMENTO (AP) — Bob Kersee is having a difficult time trying to get Allyson Felix to slow down.
Nearly a year after tearing a hamstring in her right leg at the world championships, the four-time Olympic champion sprinter has been pushing her coach to loosen the restrictions.
It hasn’t worked yet.
“I’m trying to push it so hard and he’s just kind of reeling me back in,” Felix said Wednesday. “I know I’m getting on his nerves because he has clearly told me that. It’s just a very different year so I’m trying my best to be patient and take my time to get back.”
As part of Kersee’s plan to ease her back, the 28-year-old sprinter won’t run in her signature event, the 200 meters, this week in the U.S. championships. Instead, she will focus on her footwork and speed in the 100.
Felix won the 100 at the 2010 U.S. championships but hasn’t run it competitively this year. She’ll run it twice more in Europe before narrowing her focus back to the 200.
“I have no idea where I am in the 100 meters so it’s going to be as much as a shock to me,” Felix said. “My speed is struggling and I don’t have the turnover that I typically have.”
Felix is no stranger to the track at Sacramento State. In 2004 at age 18 in the Olympic trials at the track, she won the first of her six American titles in the 200.
She won her first individual gold medal and fourth overall at the 2012 Olympics in London.
Then came the world championships in Moscow. Felix was in the thick of things until the final turn when she suddenly pulled up and grabbed the back of her leg before falling to the track.
It’s been a long, often painful, road back since but Felix is determined to make another run at Olympic gold in 2016.
“I’m hoping by the end of this season I’m able to produce some really great times,” Felix said. “I’m hoping that August is really a time that I can peak. We’ll see if it goes according to plan or not.”
Without Felix in the 200, Tori Bowie is the favorite.
The 23-year-old has the fastest time in the world this season at 22.18 seconds. Bowie also is one of the favorites in the 100, along with Morolake Akinosum, whose best this year is an 11.04.
Reigning triple jump gold medalist Christian Taylor, meanwhile, has at least temporarily put his experiment with the 400 aside.
Taylor’s biggest hurdle will be longtime friend Walter Claye, who notched the third-best jump in the world last month at the IAAF Diamond League meet in Eugene, Oregon.
“Me and Christian have been dueling it out since high school,” Claye said. “We would just go back and forth. Then we became teammates and we’ve just been going at it. We bring the best out of each other.”
The men’s 100, normally the marquee event of this meet, will be without Justin Gatlin. Gatlin, who has the top three times in the world this year, is skipping the event to focus on a showdown next month in Switzerland against American teammate Tyson Gay. It will be Gay’s first race in more than a year following a doping suspension.