After Missing the Olympic Track and Field Team, Keni Harrison Broke a 28-Year-Old Record

Photo: Getty Images

Photo: Getty Images

U.S. hurdler Keni Harrison may not be headed to Rio this summer, but that didn’t stop her from breaking a world record over the weekend.

Harrison, 23, finished first in the women’s 100-meter hurdles at the Diamond League meet in London on Friday evening with a time of 12.20 seconds, beating the previous record—held by Bulgarian Yordanka Donkova since 1988—by one one-hundredth of a second.

Aside from setting a new mark, Harrison finished ahead of three fellow American athletes who will compete in the Olympics in August: Brianna Rollins (who finished with a time of 12.57 seconds), Kristi Castlin (12.59 seconds), and Nia Ali (12.63 seconds).

Earlier this month, Harrison missed her chance at a spot on the 2016 Track and Field roster after finishing in sixth place at the trials in Eugene, Oregon, with a time of 12.62 seconds. Harrison saw the race in London as an opportunity to deliver a powerful message: “I wanted to come out here and show the world that I still have it even though I won’t be going to the Olympics,” Harrison said. “I had to give it all I had.”

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The hurdler from Tennessee won Friday’s race by a huge margin (more than a quarter-second). But her victory became even sweeter a few seconds after she crossed the finish line, when the official clock was corrected from 12.58 to 12.20.

This clip captures the incredible joy on Harrison’s face as she learned she had broken the 28-year-old world record.

“Initially I saw 12.5, and I was just happy to come out here and win. I was so happy when [the real time] came up and I was feeling really blessed. It shows that even if you don’t go out there and make the team, you have to keep going and be strong. I just ran my best and look what happened,” she said.


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