Oregon wide receiver and sprinter Devonqualified for the 110m hurdles final at the 2016 Olympics in Rio. After he qualified for the semifinals fairly easily, Allen had to endure some drama before making it to the final. He finished third in his semifinal heat, which meant that he would need to qualify for the final based on his 13.36-second time. Luckily for him, he did just that.
Allen, 21, has a fairly remarkable story. A two-sport athlete, he’s featured prominently on both Oregon’s football and track and field teams.
He suffered a ligament tear on the opening kickoff return of the Ducks’ 2014 season Rose Bowl win against Florida State, at the end of the first play of the first College Football Playoff. He rehabbed his injury and worked himself back into shape, to the point that he won the U.S. Olympic Trial in the 110m hurdles and should be on the field for Mark Helfrich’s football program no later than the team’s second game of this season. Allen ran a trial time of 13.03 seconds, a personal best.
"Obviously, it’s a little frustrating as an athlete to be injured," Allen said in an interview with SB Nation in July. "But I knew that eventually I would be okay. It just took time and a lot of extra stuff, a lot of extra work that I probably wouldn’t have done if I wasn’t hurt."
He’s found that his experiences in track and football have sharpened one another. Track gets him into shape for football, and football helps him manage the pressure of an individualized, lightning-paced sport like sprinting.
"Football’s one of those things," Allen said. "You learn a lot from it, and it makes you adjust and it has you not really panic. And sometimes in track and field, a lot of athletes panic if something goes wrong, and I’m kind of one of those guys who says, ‘Hey, whatever comes, it will come, and I’ll be okay,’ and kind of roll with the flow, roll with the punches."
Allen has outlined an ambitious triple-goal for himself. He's wanted to win a national championship in college football, a Super Bowl in the NFL and an Olympic gold medal on the track. On top of that, the NCAA is fine with Allen turning pro in track and continuing to play football for Oregon.
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