Strath Haven's Allie Wilson is Headed to the 2024 Olympics

* Allie Wilson spoke with media after the qualifying for the U.S. Team

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EUGENE, Ore. - The tough and always exciting 800 meters has been a part of Allie Wilson's resume since her days in the Catholic Youth Organization (CYO) of suburban Philadelphia almost 20 years ago.

And whether it was at Strath Haven High School or Monmouth University in New Jersey, the now 28-year-old always has been able to meet the demands of track's most difficult event.

In the final race on Monday at the U.S. Olympic Trials at Hayward Field, Wilson was up to the challenge once again, grabbing the runner-up spot and guaranteeing her place on Team USA for this summer's Olympics in Paris.

"I am very proud and very excited to represent this country, and I think things are finally coming back together for me and starting to click again ... just in time," Wilson said after her near-PR run of 1:58.32 chased former Penn standout Nia Akins (1:57.36) and slotted her ahead of current Stanford star Juliette Whittaker (1:58.45).

By running her fastest time of 2024, Wilson most importantly surpassed the Olympic standard of 1:59.30 to guarantee herself a spot on the starting line in Paris come the evening of Aug. 2.

"I was in lane 1, which I was pretty excited about," Wilson said of her inside starting position on the nine-lane oval. "I wanted to be able to see where everyone else was, but I felt like I definitely got out the slowest. So for a second I thought I was going to be kinda spit out the back."

"I ended up being right where I wanted to be at 200m and then I've never been more focused in my entire life. I just drowned everything out and followed whoever was right in front of me and tried to make moves as everyone else did. I just tried to know the last 150 to give it all I had and give myself a chance."

* Full face footage of the women's 800m final

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As it turns out, those two distances - 200 meters in and 150 from the line - provided key turning points for Wilson and the entire field: In the beginning, defending Olympic champion and race favorite Athing Mu fell hard to the track as she tried to position herself near the lead and, near the end, a blistering kick by Akins stretched out the field and left all others battling for the final two Olympic spots.

Being on the rail in the beginning, Wilson was able to avoid the tumbling Mu and those in the pack of runners trying to sidestep the American record-holder. When it came time to kick, Akins got the jump, but it was Wilson and her 15.03 final 100 meters - the fastest in the field - that moved her from fourth to second and booked her trip to Paris.

Good, bad and sometimes ugly, Team USA is decided every four years at the Olympic Trials and not on a body of work heading into the quadrennial Olympic Games, a concept that definitely was not lost on Wilson.

"I definitely wouldn't say the season has gone the way I had wanted it to," said Wilson, who still was managing a departure from the Atlanta Track Club to being an unsponsored runner in a different part of the country at the end of 2023. "I just kept trying to remind myself; it doesn't have to be perfect, it doesn't have to be pretty. You just have to get it right on this day.

"I tried to navigate the rounds as best I could. I have made a lot of mistakes over the years, and I've learned from them. I think I applied every single one of those lessons into my race today and it finally all came together.

"I'm not going to lie, moving and changing my entire situation was really scary, but the reason I did it was because it was such an important time and I didn't feel it was right to switch my coaching coming into an Olympic year," Wilson continued. "I trust (coach Andrew Begley) wholeheartedly and what he's done with me these past couple years. It was scary. It created some obstacles for me, but I think (winning the 2024 U.S. indoor title) was the first piece of validation for me that I did the right thing."

The silver-medal performance this week places the now Nike-sponsored Wilson 12th in the world in 2024 and No. 3 for American woman. 

Wilson's next challenge will come in five weeks in France.

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* Photo by Bryan Deibel