Try­ing to keep a step ahead of Felix

Los Angeles Times - - Sports - By Diane Pucin

Allyson Felix, 21, daugh­ter of a preacher, grad­u­ate of Los An­ge­les Bap­tist High and a stu­dent at USC who is one se­mes­ter from her ed­u­ca­tion de­gree, is the de­fend­ing world cham­pion in the 200-me­ter race and the 2004 Olympic sil­ver medal­ist in that event. Felix will run Sun­day at the Adi­das Track Clas­sic at the Home De­pot Cen­ter in Car­son.

Felix, who is train­ing at UCLA, is be­ing coached by Bob Kersee, hus­band and trainer of for­mer Olympic great Jackie Joyner-Kersee. As the Bei­jing Olympics approach, Felix and Kersee are plot­ting an am­bi­tious course where, Felix says, she wants to run the 200, two re­lays and ei­ther the 100 or 400.

“If ev­ery­thing were to go my way,” Felix said, “I’d be on both re­lay teams, run the 200 and pos­si­bly the 100 or 400. For right now I’m try­ing to be ready for all of them be­cause I want to run the 4x100 and 4x400 re­lays at worlds this year. And then we’ll see.”

Last week Felix won the 100 and the 400 events at a meet in Doha, Qatar, and she ran the sec­ond legs of both the 400 and 1,600 re­lays for a vic­to­ri­ous USA team at the Penn Re­lays last month.

But be­fore the world’s topranked fe­male 200-me­ter run­ner hits the track for her best event this sea­son, she an­swered some ques­tions.

Ques­tion: Who will “Danc­ing with the Stars”?

An­swer: Laila Ali. She’s great

win and what she’s do­ing is way harder than it looks. Maybe I can be on some time.

Q.: Who should have won “Amer­i­can Idol”?

A: “Melinda. I liked her voice the best and how she was a banker, just an av­er­age per­son. I’d buy her CD.”

Q.: Dodgers or An­gels this week­end? A.: Dodgers. Q.: Any sport that looks im­pos­si­ble?

A.: Fig­ure skat­ing. I’d have trou­ble stay­ing up much less do­ing triple jumps. Q.: What’s on the iPod? A.: Ne-Yo, he’s from Sher­man Oaks, right nearby. Bey­once, Jay-Z, Corinne Bai­ley Rae. That’s who I’m lis­ten­ing to when I’m warm­ing up.

Q.: Any fa­vorite Joyner-Kersee mo­ments?

A.: At the At­lanta Olympics, when Jackie hurt her leg and she still com­peted. It didn’t mat­ter if she won gold or not. Q.: Best USC foot­ball player? A.: Reg­gie Bush of course. I think I could take him in the 200. Maybe. It would be close. Don’t tell him I said that.

Q.: Plans for that ed­u­ca­tion de­gree?

A.: I want to teach fourth and fifth graders some­day. I love kids that age. They have so much en­ergy.

As for her race Sun­day, Felix said she was not aiming for any par­tic­u­lar time. “It’s early in the sea­son,” she said. “I just need to see where I stand.”

diane.pucin@la­times.com

Karim Jaa­far AFP/Getty Images

BIG PLANS: Allyson Felix says she wants to run the 200, two re­lays and ei­ther the 100 or 400 at the Bei­jing Olympics.

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