By CEO Robert Forster, PT
In May, 2016 PHASE IV / Forster PT Olympic sprinter, Allyson Felix, suffered a potential season ending ankle injury just 7 weeks before the US Olympic Trials.
Allyson’s rehab required two-a-day treatments, 7 days a week.
Allyson worked hard in PT and in the Forster PT pool to come back for the US Olympic Trials and qualify for her 4th Olympic Games.
THE DREAM TEAM OVERCOMES ALLYSON’S INJURY
My job at the trials was to keep Allyson’s ankle working well enough to qualify in the rare 200m / 400m double for the Games in Rio, was much less stressful than previous Olympic Trials when we had up to 20 athletes competing. It was another chapter in a 35 year story working with Coach Bobby Kersee to bring US sprint stars to the world stage, post injury.
Remarkably, after three weeks in the pool and just 4 weeks on the track, Allyson ran the fastest time of the year at 400m at the Olympic trials. However, her injury cost her the chance to compete for double gold in individual events in Rio as she missed qualifying in the 200m event by a 100th of a second. Another competitor dove across the finish line to grab the third spot on the US 200m team.
At the Games in Rio, in a rare “lighting strikes twice” scenario, Allyson was again edged out at the finish line by a competitor’s dive, but this time it was in the 400m Olympic Finals.
This technique, rarely, if ever, works because when a sprinter breaks stride for any reason, they typically slow down. For this rare event to happen twice to the same athlete in the same year is uncanny. Allyson won the Silver.
In spite of her injury, and these rare and controversial finishes, in addition to the untimely death of her dog, and a close family member, Allyson never deviated. A cold stone competitor with a smile, she still managed to win two gold medals in the sprint relays.
PHOTO USA TODAY
But it was not without further adversity. In the 4 X 100m relay, the Brazilian runner tripped and made contact with Allyson causing her to drop the baton. With the presence of mind of a seasoned veteran and team leader, Allyson knew if the US team didn’t pick up the stick and run it around the track, they would not be able to appeal the infraction. If they had failed to carry the baton across the finish line, the US would have been disqualified, no matter the interference.
PHOTO USA TODAY
The US relay team re-ran the sprint alone, without competition and in the spot light of the world, and posted the fastest time of the games, to qualify for the finals and allow Allyson to win another Gold medal.
With this win, Allyson had added three more medals to her Olympic hardware cache, for a life time total of 9, and became the most decorated Olympic Track and Field athlete of all time.
At those Games, Allyson surpassed one of our own, Jackie Joyner Kersee, (with 6 Olympic medals). to become the NEW G.O.A.T. (Greatest Of All Time).
Although Jackie lost the G.O.A.T. title, it was lost to Allyson, who surpassed her mentor and teammate to make history and keep the title in the PHASE IV family of athletes.
In the end, Team Kersee was victorious again, having won at least one Gold Medal in each of the last 9 Olympic Games, brining our total Olympic Medal count to 60.