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Allyson Felix and Ashton Eaton - National Media Teleconference Excerpts


Allyson Felix and Ashton Eaton
Jesse Owens Award winners – National Media Teleconference
November 12, 2012

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Allyson Felix
What do you attribute to the longevity of your career and what made this year so special?
“What made this year so special is the journey that I have been on my entire career. From having silver medals in 2004 and 2008, I feel like that really motivated me and kept me driven throughout. I have great people around me with Bobby (Kersee) and my family and I feel like they have helped me make really great decisions. I have been blessed with good health over the years and have been able to take advantage of that. I am honored to have the Jesse Owens Award again and it truly is a dream come true for me.”

Can you share with us your whirlwind tour since London? What are you up to these days?
“It has been really great. I have been able to do a lot of things and speak about a lot of things I am passionate about. Right now I am in the middle of getting ready for the Glamour Woman of the Year Awards (Monday) in New York and I’m getting ready to go to Africa (Tuesday). It’s really been amazing. I have been able to do so many things I have always wanted to do.”

How do you embody approaching the 400 meters?
“I think I am definitely open more to it now. I definitely want to run in Rio and looking at the reality of that, I’m more accepting of that I think will determine that. The 400m maybe suites me more so I think I am more accepting of that.”

Will you continue to look for improvement in the 200m?
“Definitely. I have gained a lot of confidence from running at the Trials and from this year to now see where I can go with it.”

Can you tell us what are the things that are important to you and what will you be doing in Africa?
“Nike released a report called Design to Move, which lays out the problems the U.S. is facing and really the world with physical activity for children. That is something I have been passionate about for a long time. I am also on the President’s Council for Sport & Nutrition about the same thing.  I am going to Africa with an organization called Right to Play, which is an organization I have done a lot of work with where they teach kids life lessons. I have done lots of them. I am going to Rwanda and Uganda and Tanzania and will be gone for 10 days.”

Where are you at in your training?
“I am easing myself back into things. I haven’t formally started with Bobby (Kersee) yet. I am kind of doing things on my own while I am on the road. I will get back with him in about two weeks and everything will go back into full force with training.”

What are you most excited about for this year?
“For myself I am still very excited. It’s not the same as the Olympic stage. The World Championships aren’t the same, but it is still so much fun. You are still competing against the same people. I am still motivated and excited to see how it plays out.”

How did you come to the decision of being more open to the 400m?
“My experiences have made me more open to it. I guess it’s more not being sure where I will be around Rio. If things aren’t going how I would like it to then I could see myself branching out to the 400m. I am very happy where I am at so I am definitely going to keep pursuing them.”

What keeps you grounded in the world of being a professional athlete?
“For me a lot of it is my family. Having that constant in my life has made a big difrerence. My faith is very important. I am grateful with where I am.”

Will you be competing indoors?
“As of right now I am not running any indoors.”

Ashton Eaton
How did you maintain such a high level of performance all year long?
“A lot has to do with my coach and the setup I have living in Oregon. I have a great coach whose main focus is getting to the competition healthy. He believes that if you are healthy and all of the other things stay the same then you can compete at whatever level the potential holds. I have a lot of motivation after getting second last year (at the World Outdoor Championships) in Daegu. I knew what it felt like to be on the second tier podium at the World Championships and I wanted to see what it felt like to be on the first tier podium at the Olympics. With the Olympics on my mind, it was easy to check off the other goals as I went along.”

What is your favorite moment of the year?
“Definitely the Olympic Trials. It was coming through the line in the 1,500m. I didn’t expect it to happen. I didn’t think I would be able to do that. The fact that Oregon is where I am from and the University of Oregon is kind of where track and field started for me and to have it be the 100th anniversary of my event and have all of the past American Olympic medalists there watching –  You really can’t have it any better than that.”

Both of your great performances in Eugene and in London came in difficult weather conditions. Under better conditions, how much better do you think you could have performed?
“I don’t know. You can speculate that I could have scored 9,300 points, but I have also had bad decathlons when the weather has been perfect. It’s hard to say. The weather is kind of like the 11th event and everyone on the field has to deal with it.”

Which events do you see room for improvement and by how much can you improve?
“I think I can improve in all of my events. The shot put; at the end of the year I was just starting to get some things down. The discus is something I haven’t figured out yet and the javelin is something I haven’t figured out yet.  The pole vault is still a steep learning curve. I would say those and maybe hurdles as well.”

How are the wedding plans?
“They are going very well. (Fiance) Brianne (Theisen) is one of the most organized people I know. The wedding is in July and we have almost everything done.”

How is the competition schedule looking with the wedding in July?
“The competitions I am doing is a big emphasis on May. The wedding will be after the Trials (USA Outdoor Championships). We will take a rest week for the wedding and leave a few weeks later for Moscow (for the World Outdoor Championships) if all things go well.”

We recently lost one of the greatest decathletes of all time in Milt Campbell. Tell us any memories that you have of Milt.
“I had the pleasure of meeting Milt right after the Olympic Trials and also in Germany for the gathering of all of the decathlon greats. We talked over dinner for quite a while. I think the human race has taken a substantial blow with the loss of Milt Campbell. His passing reminds us of what to stand for and what type of a person to be.”

Where are you at in your training?
“This is week two for me. The first week is normally a preparation cycle where we just have a general fitness thing to get the body ready. (Monday) I am in the weight room and getting ready to start again.”

Would you like to see Bryan (Clay) continue?
“I would only like to see him continue if it’s something that he wants to do. I think you can tell the difference between someone who wants to do it and someone who has to do it. You can tell when Bryan wanted to do it he was pretty much unstoppable.”

What are you most looking forward to?
“I am most looking forward to the fun. The Olympic year was my first one and I had a lot of expectations for myself. It was fun afterward but leading up was stressful. Now I am kind of relaxed and feel like I have accomplished a goal. I am excited to see what young athletes come up. New competitors I am excited to see who comes out of the woodwork.”

Would you like to get the world record in the decathlon 400m?
“That would be nice. I think it would be fun to be on a World Championships 4x400m team, but we will see how that goes. It would be pretty tough.”

What keeps your grounded?
“It definitely is family. They can keep you in line. When you run things by them they can give you more perspectives. It makes you think more how you are doing>”

Will you be competing indoors?
“My plans change all of the time but I don’t think the indoor season will be very busy for me.”

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