By Gene Cherry
EUGENE, Oregon, June 21 (Reuters) – Since she was a youngster, former world champion Sanya Richards-Ross has dreamed of being on the Olympic stage in two individual events and double duty in the U.S. trials will give her the opportunity to make London those Games.
Healthy and running extremely well, the 2009 world 400 meters champion will go after a berth in the long sprint, beginning on Friday – the opening day of the trials.
She will then double back next week to contest what may be the one of the biggest races of the trials, the women’s 200 meters.
Three times former world 200 champion Sanya Richards-Ross and world silver medalist Carmelita Jeter, the reigning global 100 meters champion, will be just a part of the spirited competition.
“It is just an amazing thrill for me,” Richards-Ross, the year’s fastest woman at the two distances, told a news conference on Thursday.
“That is what makes all of us as good as we are.”
It is also a no-brainer, said the Jamaican-born 27-year-old.
After the 400 in which Richards-Ross is the clear-cut favorite, she will have three days to recover before tackling her biggest obstacle to a second berth on the team.
But there was no hesitation by the wife of National Football League cornerback Aaron Ross of the Jacksonville Jaguars.
“I love it,” said Richards-Ross. “You look forward to seeing the best athletes line up and go after it.”
Competing in the 400 first will make the challenge of the 200 seem easier.
“In the 400 you really have to be careful not to sprint too early as it can mess up the whole race,” Richards-Ross said. “In the 200 you have a little bit more leeway where you can kind of go all out.”
Felix also will be doubling in the trials with a hope of doing both in London, and like Richards-Ross, she will have another event before the 200.
The two times Olympic 200 meters silver medalist and her coach decided on Monday she would contest the 100 rather than attempt a 400-200 double as she did unsuccessfully at last year’s world championships.
“This year… it’s all about the 200,” Felix said. “Running the 100 helps my 200.”
But the race is no easy chore.
Jeter is ready to excel in both sprints as well, her coach said, and 2005 world long jump champion turned sprinter Tianna Madison has looked sharp on the track this season.
“I hope to be competitive,” Felix said. “(But) it is really about using that to prepare me for the 200.
“(The 100) keeps me in that sprint mode. For me it is difficult to go from a 400 to a sprint. It is something that I have not really mastered.
“Staying sprinting seems to work best for me.”