Setting the third-fastest 110-metre hurdles time in history would be impressive enough in itself. For American Devon Allen, though, that's only scratching the surface of his impressive multi-sport existence.
Allen, 27, ran a time of 12.84 seconds at the New York Grand Prix. Grant Holloway, the reigning Olympic silver medal winner, was second in 13.06 seconds.
The winning time was 0.04 seconds off the world record. It was also faster than any winning time in the history of the Olympic Games.
The world record of 12.80 seconds was set by American Aires Merritt in 2012 at the Van Damme Memorial in Brussels, Belgium. World Champion Holloway holds the second-fastest time of 12.81, which he set in June of 2021 at the U.S. Olympic Trials in Eugene, Oregon.
"Clean up a few things, and four hundredths of a second is four thousandths of a second per hurdle, which is so small," Allen told NBCSports.com. "Going to have to wait for another race.”
Allen will run in the U.S. Trials later this month. If he's successful there, he'll be heading to World Track and Field Championships from July 11-24 in Oregon, which is where Allen competed in college sports with the NCAA's Oregon Ducks.
Two days following the conclusion of the worlds, Allen gets back to work at his other job. He's a wide receiver for the NFL's Philadelphia Eagles, earning an annual stipend of $800,000 for catching passes. The Eagles open training camp on July 26.
Remaining an elite world-class athlete in two sports is a challenge that Allen embraces wholeheartedly.
“When I’m doing so much — like football and track, trying to balance them both — I need to be really conscious of my recovery, my sleep, my diet, everything like that,” Allen told reporters after the race.
“So it had me locked in a little bit more, and obviously it’s working out.”
Allen ran track and played football while at Oregon. He's a three-time USA champion inthe 110-metre hurdles and has competed at two Olympic Games. He finished fifth at teh 2016 Rio Summer Games and fourth by 0.04 seconds last year in Tokyo.
Track stars playing football isn't unusual. Reinaldo Nehemiah (San Francisco 49ers) and Willie Gault (Chicago Bears) were World hurdle champions who won Super Bowls as NFLers. Both were denied their Olympic opportunity when the USA boycotted the 1980 Moscow Summer Games. Not satisfied with being a two-sport athlete, Gault also performed for the USA in the four-man bobsled at the 1988 Calgary Winter Olympics.
Bob Hayes, the 1964 gold medallist in the 100 metres, also won a Super Bowl with the Dallas Cowboys.