The scene on Sunday night at the World Athletics Championships was almost impossible to believe.
Eagles wide receiver Devon Allen was nervously awaiting the final of the 110-meter hurdles at the World Athletics Championships. He stretched his legs, he fidgeted, he focused down the track on the 110 meters ahead of him.
The crowd at the University of Oregon was wildly supportive of their adopted son, who played football and ran track for the Ducks.
Allen settled into the blocks, waiting for the starter’s signal. The man with the fastest 110 time this year finished second in his semifinal heat and was considered a serious contender for a medal.
- The runners were ready.
- The Hayward Field crowd was roaring in anticipation.
- You heard the starter’s signal.
- You saw the runners explode from the blocks.
- You heard the second starter’s signal less than a second later, piercing, bringing the race to an end.
Someone false started. It was Allen, by 1/1,000th of a second. Devon Allen was disqualified from the event because he reacted faster than is allowable after the starter’s signal went off. So, by 1/1,000th of a second, his brilliant track season was over — imperceptibly fast.
DEVON ALLEN DISQUALIFIED – HIS REACTION
“I know for a fact I didn’t go until I heard the gun,” Allen told reporters.
Australian sports broadcaster Quentin Hull said: “Undetectable to the naked eye. The kind of moment that alienates track fans.”
“It’s nobody’s fault but my own,” Allen told NBC after he was disqualified. “I have to make sure I just go 1/1,000th slower.
“There’s a lot of variables at play. There’s still noise in the crowd, there’s people going [in the starting blocks] later than others so there’s still movement going on.
“The fact that they’re not [allowing] me to run … even under protest for all that kind of stuff, it kinda sucks. Happens. I have a quick reaction, you know, it’s within 1/1,000th of the allowable limit. Obviously after the gun.”
Allen, 27, kept up a brave persona while being interviewed. His pain was obvious in his face and in his words.
“This is really unfortunate that I didn’t get the opportunity to run because of a few things,” Allen told NBC. “I think overall I was ready to run. That’s the thing that sucks.”
A JINXED FINAL
The final was cursed before the runners even got into the starting blocks. Tokyo Olympics champion Hansle Parchment was injured while warming up for the race and could not participate.
Then, Devon Allen was disqualified – 1/1,000th of a second of fate.
“Even when the gun went off and we had a callback, they said ‘False start lane three,’ ” gold medalist Grant Holloway told reporters. “I even told Devon, ‘Go protest.’ ”
Silver medalist Trey Cunningham called the situation “the false-start fiasco.”
“We thought he should have stayed [on the track],” Cunningham told reporters. “Even the people who were in the stands next to us were like, he should be in the blocks.
“I don’t think that’s because he’s an American. I think that’s because he didn’t false start.”
- Team USA’s Holloway won his second consecutive world championship in 13.03 seconds
- Team USA’s Cunningham won the silver in 13.08
- Spain’s Asier Martinez ran a personal-best time of 13.17 to win the bronze
DEVON ALLEN’s BITTERSWEET 2022
Allen’s life has been something out of a Lifetime movie this year. After not playing football since 2016, he participated in Oregon’s Pro Day. He ran so well, that the Eagles signed him to a three-year contract.
- His track season was world-class outstanding. In addition to his world-best time this year (12.84), he won two other races.
- The two-time Olympian qualified for the world championships and advanced to the finals.
- In June, while participating in the U.S. championships, his father died.
“Everything I do, is to the best of my ability,” Allen told NBC. “That’s how I was raised. My dad raised me to go after everything.
“This is my last meet of the season. I got training camp next week, and get ready for that and go after that.”
EAGLES’ CAMP UP NEXT
Next for Allen is Eagles training camp on July 26,
“My goal is to be the best hurdler ever, and I still have a chance to do that,” Allen told reporters.
“And my goal is to play in the NFL and help the Eagles right now, win a Super Bowl, so there’s not really much I can do. It’s just one race, which is frustrating. Track and field is so difficult because you train the whole year for one competition that lasts 12 seconds, 13 seconds, and that’s that.”
“It’s kind of like your identity is based on that one competition, which is frustrating, but it happens and I’ll learn from it and I’ll make sure I just kind of react not as fast next time.”