SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — The Olympic 100-meter hurdles gold medalist didn’t race. The bronze medalist couldn’t make the team.
Still, they’re thinking a red, white and blue sweep in the event at the London world championships. Just shows the depth of the hurdles.
World-record holder Keni Harrison used a strong start to win her first U.S. outdoor track and field championship Saturday. Nia Ali, the silver medalist at the Rio de Janeiro Games, was second and Christina Manning took third. Because Harrison already had a wild-card berth into worlds in August, 2008 Olympic gold medalist Dawn Harper-Nelson also made the hurdles squad courtesy of her fourth-place finish.
“Everyone in this event is really strong,” said Harrison, who finished in 12.60 seconds to beat Ali by a 0.08 margin. “These girls are going to represent and get that sweep like last year (at the Olympics).”
In Rio, the 1-2-3 hurdles finish was led by Brianna Rollins, who received a one-year suspension in April for repeated failures to disclose her whereabouts to anti-doping officials. Rollins’ suspension is retroactive to Sept. 27, 2016, the date of her last missed whereabouts report. Also missing from the world team will be Kristi Castlin, the bronze medalist in Rio who wound up sixth in the final.
“To make this (hurdles) team, you have to work for it and earn it,” said Harper-Nelson, who drew a three-month suspension that began in December for a positive test. She told anti-doping officials it was caused by blood pressure medication. “That just shows you how strong our team is.”
Harrison went all out despite already having a safety net to worlds thanks to her Diamond League title. She needed the work after breaking her left hand while warming up for a hurdles race this spring.
“To come from breaking a hand to winning, it means everything,” Harrison said. “My confidence is where it needs to be.”