Devon Allen is not only a wide receiver at the University of Oregon, but he’s also a track and field star. He started his quest for an Olympic medal after making Team USA to compete in the 110-meter hurdles race, but finished fifth in the final. The 21-year-old Allen also has strong family support and they will be in Rio to cheer him on.
On November 16, Allen announced plans to forego his college eligibility in both football and track to complete in track and field professionally.
Here’s a look at Allen’s family.
1. Allen’s Parents Both Started GoFundMe Campaigns to Raise Money for Their Trips to Rio
After Allen made the Olympic team in July, Allen’s parents, who are divorced, created their own GoFundMe campaigns to fund trips to Rio de Janeiro. His father, Louis Allen Jr., who lives in Phoenix, raised $19,065 to pay for him and his fiance Bernadette to go see his son hopefully win an Olympic medal.
Louis Allen Jr. told AZCentral that he has saved $10,000 to see his son race, but when he lost his job, he had to spend it on bills, Allen’s car and other expenses.
Two days after Louis Allen Jr. began his campaign, Allen’s mother, Joey Lyn Knudson, launched her own campaign. Knudson’s campaign raised $8,018. That means that Knudson and Allen’s twin sister Carissa could both go to Rio.
“I can’t even imagine what it’s going to feel like, to be there and watch him on that kind of stage,” Knudson told KGW.
According to Oregon Live, nine members of the Allen family will be there to cheer him on.
2. Carissa, Allen’s Twin Sister, Is Also an Athlete & Wears the Same Number, 13
Carissa and Allen are twins and both have a dedication to sports. They are very close and both played soccer, basketball and baseball. Carissa played five sports in high school, notes Oregon Live. While Allen plays football and runs track at Oregon, Carissa is at Northwest Christian University, playing volleyball.
The longest the two have ever been apart was during Allen’s first two years in college. Carissa first went to Phoenix College.
“My two years in Arizona were definitely difficult because I didn’t get to see his games. It was hard, but I’m glad now because I’m so close,” Carissa told Oregon Live.
“We always talk to each other, and we can do it over the phone. But it’s different when you see someone’s face,” Allen told Oregon Live of their relationship.
3. Allen & Carissa Were Born Seven Hours Apart & Two Months Premature
Allen and Carissa were born in Seattle on December 12, 1994. They were born seven hours apart, with Carissa being born second, and two months premature. According to UWire, the two also stayed in the hospital for a month to help their breathing.
But the two of them quickly turned into athletes. Allen began playing football when he was only 10.
“Sometimes we have our parent goggles on and think our kids can do everything, but I’m just speaking the truth,” Louis Allen told UWire.
4. Allen Made Sure Both His Parents Were With Him When He Was Baptized
Two days before the Olympic trials in Eugene, Oregon last month, Allen was finally baptized. He made sure to do it while both of his parents were in the same place. Although Allen was religious growing up, but he wasn’t baptized. He spent time with the Oregon football team captain after he tore his ACL in the 2015 Rose Bowl. He was also attending Bible studies.
“It was something he was talking about doing for a little while,” Louis Allen told AZCentral. “He called me. He said, ‘I’m thinking of doing this at the NCAAs, but I’ll wait for the U.S. trials. I’m going to be baptized. What do you think about that?'”
Louis Allen called his son’s baptism a “beautiful experience.” Not only were his parents there, but Allen invited his teammates.
5. Louis Allen Knew His Son Had Potential in Football When Allen Was 4 Years Old
After seeing Allen play football at 4 years old, Louis Allen decided that his son had talent. He then signed Allen up for a football team of 5-year-olds and saw how his son picked up a fumble and ran it for a 60-yard touchdown.
“That’s when I knew this kid’s got special speed,” Louis Allen told USA Today. “He just would put in another gear, and would just run away from people.”
When he was 11 and living in Phoenix, Allen’s potential as a track athlete was finally discovered by a counselor at a Boys and Girls Club.
“I understand you want him to be successful, but the reality of it is, why does he have to make a choice?” Louis told USA Today. “Until he has to make a choice, I’m going to support him doing both sports.”