Louis Allen knew his son might have a future as a top athlete when he watched the six year old compete on teams at school. Baseball, basketball, soccer—the boy could do it all and then some.
“Every coach seemed to want my son on their team,” says Allen, Materials Manager for Jensen Precast Phoenix. “His soccer coach would end up having to take him out of the lineup because he would score five or six goals in the first 15 minutes of a game. One time when he played shortstop the first baseman kept missing catches, so my son would just run over to first base and get the out himself. He loves competition. I knew he was going to be special when he would wake me up at 6 am almost every weekend at eight years old to work on his conditioning when he didn’t have a track meet.”
Allen’s son is Devon Allen, a two time Olympian who competed for the United States in the 110 meter hurdles in Tokyo, Japan. A former wide receiver for the University of Oregon football team, Devon has dominated the 110 meter hurdles category for the past eight years ever since he won both the NCAA and USA outdoor track and field championships in 2014.
What motivates him to compete at such a high level? Along with his own determination, the Olympian has benefited from a strong family support system over the years.
“Our family mantra is, ‘If you believe it, you can achieve it,’” Allen says. “For Devon it started by helping him with his training and taking him to meets all over the country as an eight year old up until college. Every January 1st we would sit down to come up with goals for the year. In 2015 his goal was to make the 2016 US Olympic Team. He placed fifth in Rio de Janeiro, missing a medal by tenths of a second.”
Devon won the semifinals meet in Tokyo and came in fourth in the finals, besting his 2016 place and just missing a medal by five hundredths of a second.
“We are so excited this is Devon’s second Olympics,” Allen says. “We have a very large support system of family and friends all over the country as well as in Canada, Australia, and Europe. I talk with him before and after every race, even if it’s just to text message one another until we can speak again.”
Allen says his son still lives in Phoenix. In fact his place is just down the street from the Jensen Precast facility where his dad works on Broadway Road.