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Five years after heartbreak, Team USA’s Keni Harrison won silver in the final of the 100-meter hurdles at the Tokyo Olympics on Monday, finishing second with a time of 12.52 seconds. Jasmine Camacho-Quinn of Puerto Rico took gold in 12.37, and Jamaica’s Megan Tapper finished third in 12.55.
Though we knew there wouldn’t be a Team USA sweep of the 100-meter hurdles like in 2016, the finals were still destined to be exciting if only for the speed seen in the semi-finals.
Coming in, it was Jasmine Camacho-Quinn’s to lose. And the favorite, the 24-year-old performed as suspected, finishing in 12.37. Originally born in South Carolina, Camacho-Quinn chooses to run for her mother’s home island, Puerto Rico.
“It means a lot to represent such a small country,” Camacho-Quinn told Lewis Johnson after the race. “This is giving younger kids hope.”
If anyone was going to challenge Puerto Rico’s star, it was Harrison. Harrison, 28, won the U.S. Olympic Trials in a season’s best time of 12.47, making her first Olympic team, five years after a shocking disappointment at the 2016 Trials.
From the gun, Harrison was matching Camacho-Quinn, running stride in stride through about the third hurdle. Camacho-Quinn increased her lead, leaving Harrison in second in 12.52.
If you missed the lead up to this Olympic final, it’s worth recalling the drama from just the night prior. Harrison’s semi-final heat had three false starts where nobody was disqualified. The world record holder (12.20) made it to the finals with a consistent finish in 12.52.
“At the end I was looking at the finish line, I kind of forgot about the hurdles that were in front of me,” Harrison said after the competition. “I was just grateful to finish strong and not to get hurt. And to get a silver medal at this stage, it’s amazing.”
The other Team USA competitor, Gabi Cunningham placed 7th in the final after running a personal best in her semi-final heat.
It was also an exciting race for Jamaica. Megan Tapper’s bronze is the first medal the country has brought home in the 100-meter hurdles.