“Right Now She’s the Enemy” – Track and Field Prodigy Talks About Taking On Allyson Felix in the 200 Meter Dash

Published 04/29/2022, 10:30 AM EDT
TOKYO, JAPAN – AUGUST 06: Allyson Felix of Team USA prepares to race by resting in the starting blocks in the Women’s 400m on day fourteen of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Olympic Stadium on August 6, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan. Felix became the most decorated female track athlete in Olympic history after winning her 10th athletics medal. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

Melissa Jefferson may only be an emergent athlete from Coastal Carolina, but she has already made her mark. Competing for the 200 meters crown against one of the game’s greats in Allyson Felix, Jefferson was left with quite a conundrum as she laced her shoes. And in perhaps the first instance of an athlete not being shattered by a second-place finish, The USC Outdoor Open in Columbia saw her finish second to the seven-time Olympic gold medallist.

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While Jefferson missed out on the victory by the narrowest of margins, it was the process of getting ready to race her hero that could have played a bigger role. Understandably stunned by the presence of her idol, Jefferson later credited Felix with pushing her to be the best and set a new record in the process. Counting herself as one of the lucky ones, Jefferson will be happy with the opportunity of being able to compete with the stalwart, as this could be her final opportunity at it.

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Jefferson opens up on competing with Allyson Felix

Taking part in the 200-meter dash, Jefferson was only 0.06 seconds behind Felix who finished with a time of 22.40. An alumnus of the Carvers Bay High School, Jefferson also won the 100-meter dash with a  time of 11.08 on the day. It was facing off with her idol though that presented the day’s biggest challenge.

Having only heard of Felix’s participation a couple of days prior to the event, Jefferson was understandably shaken up. Said Jefferson, “At first I was freaking out. I was like, ‘OK, this is really happening’. I had my little fan girl moment.” 

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Coastal Carolina sprinter Melissa Jefferson (left) poses with seven-time Olympic gold medalist Allyson Felix at the USC Outdoor Open in Columbia on April 23. Felix beat Jefferson in the 200-meter dash by .06 seconds. Provided/Joel Beachum

However, she had to snap out of it quickly. Jefferson showed great maturity in switching up her mindset.  “‘OK, right now she’s the enemy. We’re not friends’,” said Jefferson, “because at the end of the day, the job was to beat her.”

Responding to the challenge, Jefferson truly gave Felix a run for her money. And in the process also beat some University records. The young athlete also got a taste of the pressures that an athlete’s life carries with it. Said Jefferson, “There were so many people there that weren’t there before that race was about to begin.”

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It might be too early to say but Jefferson may well be a star in the making. But what do you think? Could the young athlete touch the heady heights of the career we have seen Felix have? Or is it too early to tell for the competitor?

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Aditya Deshingkar

567 articles

Aditya Deshingkar is a US Sports writer at EssentiallySports. An aspiring lawyer, Aditya is a final year student of the law program at GLC. Notably, as an avid sports lover, he shares a keen interest in NBA, MLB, and Formula 1.

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