Tokyo — Five years ago, Keni Harrison smiled because he was disappointed. “I don’t know what happened,” she said.
She arrived at the 2016 US Olympics athletics as an exorbitant favorite in the 100-meter hurdles because she could not only win the event but also win a gold medal in Rio. Instead, she finished in 6th place – shocked, grieved and completely separated from the team.
For the next 1,851 days, the disappointment at that moment fueled Harrison. And on Monday, she finally got a redemption. The 28-year-old won the 12.52-second silver medal at the Tokyo Olympics, slightly defeating the bronze-winning Jamaican Megan Tapper, and second only to Puerto Rico’s Jasmine Camachoquin, who won the gold medal.
Gabbi Cunningham, another American competitor in the field, came in seventh.
“I think I miss it in Rio. It’s always behind my head during training,” Harrison said. “That’s why I keep working hard. I just remember the moment when I finished 6th in the US trial.
“So you just have to get yourself back, chase it, and regain your self-confidence. If you can win a silver medal and bring it back to your country, you’ll be happier.”
Harrison was born in Tennessee and adopted as an infant. Her parents, Karon and Gary, have 11 children, nine of whom are adopted. Two of them are from Bolivia and two are from South Korea.
Harrison, a child in the middle of the family, shifted his focus to the track after starting as a soccer player. She ran jointly at the University of Kentucky, won two national championships as a senior, and was stranded the following year as a volunteer assistant coach during training in Rio.
It was then that she first met Kamachoquin, a freshman on the team. They trained together on a regular basis and shared the same coach.
“I think we did our best to each other,” Harrison said. “I wanted to beat her because she wanted to beat me. That gave me this great competitiveness.”
Kamachoquin, who set the fastest time in the world five times this year, said time training with Harrison helped her to reassure her in the final on Monday. It brought back memories of their training session at Lexington.
“It honestly calmed me down in the block,” said Kamachokin, whose brother Robert is playing in the NFL. “I think we’ve reached this point because of what we’ve experienced together. We both know what it looks like.”
After missing the Olympic team in 2016, Harrison set a new world record of 12.20 seconds at the Diamond League event the following month. Meanwhile, American women dominated Rio’s medal spot, led by Brianna Rollins-McNeil.
Harrison said the disappointment of the 2016 trial motivated her, but never urged her to question her abilities.
“I don’t think it was shocking for me to come here and win a medal,” she said. “When I dream (it) every night, it’s just one of them. I definitely knew I was capable.”
Not surprisingly, Harrison will prefer gold. But when I talked to reporters on Monday, she seemed happy and relieved, with the American flag on her shoulder.
“The goal is always money,” Harrison said. “But for now, I’m happy.”
Contribution: Associated Press
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Kendra Harrison wins silver medal in 100 meters hurdles at Tokyo Olympics
Source link Kendra Harrison wins silver medal in 100 meters hurdles at Tokyo Olympics