Devon Allen, a big-play wide receiver on the Oregon football team, is two races from an Olympic medal in the 110-meter hurdles. Allen ran a 13.41 in a qualifying heat Monday to advance. The semifinals and the final of the event will be Tuesday in Rio.
Allen had to overcome some distractions before running in his qualifying heat. After the first two heats, competition was suspended by heavy rain. That meant the track conditions weren’t ideal. Then, in Allen’s heat, a competitor was disqualified because of a false start.
None of that mattered as the 21-year-old Allen, competing in his first Olympics, was able to easily move to the semifinals by finishing a close second in his heat.
Back in Eugene, Oregon coach Mark Helfrich scheduled a team meeting so the Ducks could watch their teammate compete. Allen said that he got over 50 text messages from his fellow Ducks before he competed.
“Those guys are trying to do something special there, as well as I’m trying to something special here,”” said Allen, who won the 110-meter hurdle final in the U.S. Olympic Trials in Eugene. “Even if they took just 20 minutes or 30 minutes to watch me, I’m hoping they can do it again (Tuesday).”
As a redshirt sophomore in 2014, the 6-foot, 185-pound Allen had 41 receptions for 684 yards and seven touchdowns. In the 2015 Rose Bowl, he suffered a torn ACL and that limited his production in 2015. Last season he caught just nine passes for 94 yards.
The 110-meter hurdle semifinals are scheduled for 7:40 EST Tuesday.