Devon Allen returns from injury stronger than ever with sights set on the Olympics
Watch #LiveonKMTR Thursday, April 28 at 6:30 p.m. and 11 p.m. for John Franchi's full story.
EUGENE, Ore. - In about two months Hayward Field will come alive with the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials. One two-sport star at the University of Oregon plans to compete and try to do something no Duck athlete has done before.
One of the greatest Olympians, Jesse Owens, once said, "We all have dreams, but in order to make dreams come into reality, it takes an awful lot of determination, dedication, self-discipline, and effort." He said that about 80 years ago, but those words remain timeless.
Oregon's Devon Allen possesses all these qualities. It's no surprise to fans that the superstar football player and elite track athlete isn't letting a major knee injury derail his Olympic dream.
He wants to win everything he does," said Head Football Coach Mark Helfrich.
"You can't gauge the level of his competitiveness," said Head Track and Field Coach Robert Johnson.
It's Allen's competitive drive that keeps him knocking on the door of Oregon Sports History.
"I put myself in a good position. Hopefully I will make the top three and make the team," Allen said. "That would be my dream."
If Allen hurdles his way onto the United States Olympic team, he'd become the first Oregon Football letter winner ever to represent the United States at the Olympics - a feat that wouldn't shock either his football or his track coach.
"He's pretty amazing. First time watching him run, then to see him win the NCAA Championship as a freshman - wow! Just going up against seniors and juniors to win as a freshman," Helfrich said.
"Chances are pretty good. He ran against the same guys a couple of years ago and won the USA Championships. He's got just as good a shot as anybody," Johnson said.
Allen shocked the nation in 2014 when, at just 19 years old, he won the 110 meter hurdles at the NCAA Championships. Then weeks later, he won the same event at the U.S. Nationals. It was the first time an athlete won both events in the same year since 1979.
However, just months later, on New Year's Day 2015 at the Rose Bowl, Allen suffered a knee injury on the opening kickoff.
That's one of the dangers of participating in two sports; his knee injury cost him his entire 2015 season on the track, but it didn't ruin his Olympic dream.
"I was confident I would be back," Allen said. "Trying to gain my strength back, testing, new clean max, new bench and back squat max - stronger now than I was before the injury."
"To stay the course and stay humble, that's tough to do. For him to be able to endure everyday rituals you go through with these injuries - the sky is the limit," Johnson said.
"Working back into it, he smashed benchmarks, way ahead of it," Helfrich said. "Track first this year, won't get tacked or hit, can focus on the hurdle."
Allen said he never doubted he could come back for the Olympics after the injury. He said at the time of the injury, he was more upset he didn't take that opening kick back for a touchdown.