Allen phenomenon, king of obstacles with football in the future

He just touched the world record of 110 and two months ago he signed a three-year deal with the Philadelphia Eagles in the NFL: “My heart beats for both sports”. Saturday in the Diamond League in Paris

A man on a mission on a double front: in athletics and in football. Devon Allen, at the Bislett Games in Oslo, sixth stage of the 2022 Diamond League, confirms his status in the 110 obstacles. Running in the fifth lane of the legendary Norwegian stadium, he wins in 13 ”22 against the wind (-1.2 meters per second), on a track wet from rain and with less than ideal conditions, messing around on the last barriers and ahead of the Spaniard Martinez (13” 30). But repeating the success of Sunday in New York, in a Gold meeting of the Continental Tour. It was precisely the performance signed at Icahn Stadium – on Randall’s Island of the Big Apple, obtained a few days after having disposed of Covid – that launched Devon in a new dimension. That 12 “84, with an improvement on the staff of 15 cents, earned the third world time ever behind the 12” 80 of Aries Merritt (Brussels 2012) and the 12 “81 of Grant Holloway (Eugene 2021), the number one of the specialty of the last three seasons that has been soundly beaten in New York. Not that the 27-year-old born and raised in Phoenix, Arizona was anyone: already three times national champion (2014, 2016 and 2018), he was fifth at the 2016 Rio Olympics and fourth at last year’s Tokyo Olympics, respectively. at 7 and 4/100 from the podium.

The objectives

“The goal – says the pupil of Tim O’Neil – is to win the visa for the World Cup next week and win them with the world record. Then I can think about football. It will be a busy summer ”. Yes, because the boy (1 meter and 83 in height, 82 kilos in weight), ten days after the conclusion of the world championship, from the top of a prestigious university career, will be expected at the training camp of the Philadelphia Eagles, the Nfl franchise. with which, in April, he signed a three-year contract. There are not a few precedents of athletes capable of excelling in both disciplines. But Allen, talented and… very fast wide receiver, keeping faith with his current promises, will be able to go further than anyone. “My heart – he explained in Oslo – beats for both sports. Football training is useful for athletics and vice versa. And it’s nice to try to be successful in both. The two worlds are different, but they have points of contact. I can make them live together and have never been as fast as in this period. Above all, it will be a question of regaining confidence with the ball in your hands “.

To Eugene

In the background of this story is Eugene, the town in Oregon which, with its Hayward Field, as soon as the NCAA finals have been hosted, will be the site of the Trials and World Championships in the coming weeks. It is in this city that Devon realized he could split up. At Oregon University, with the glorious yellow-green Ducks jersey, for a couple of years, in 2014 (seven touchdowns) and in 2015, he played with the oval and danced between obstacles. Were it not that a double, serious knee injury forced him, in the first case, to play a total of no more than nine games. Preventing him from being considered for the NFL draft. Not bad: Devon concentrated on athletics and a couple of months ago, invited to the “Pro day” of the same Ducks, showcase of university stars for professional team scouts, he impressed by running the 40 yards (standard distance of measurement in Nfl) in 4 ”35, a super time trial. From there, thanks also to excellent fundamentals, the signing with the Eagles that hopefully will lead him to a place in the squad for next season, starting in September.

The family

Meanwhile, for another month or so, he will do the 110 obstacles. Devon – athlete with the five circles tattooed on the inside of his left wrist, sponsored by Nike and managed by long-time manager Paul Doyle – in 2022 he brought his staff to 100 to 10 “20, winning” his “race, with that last night, six times out of seven, with only one second place at the Puerto Rico meeting, beaten by the reigning Olympic champion, the Jamaican Hansle Parchment (13 ”15 to 13” 20). “I attribute this further leap in quality to the fact that, between the starting block and the first obstacle, I went from eight to seven steps – he explains – thus finding a better rhythm throughout the race”. Devon – three brothers, including Carissa, twin born a week like him – comes from a very religious family: his father Louis and his mother Joey, in Phoenix, sent him to a Jesuit high school and Devon was baptized in the waters of Eugene’s Willamette River. two days before the Trials that allowed him to get a pass for the Rio Games. Given what awaits him in the coming weeks – on Saturday he will be in the Diamond League in Paris – some prayers could help.

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