It is a fact of life, in hurdle race, people hit hurdles..it is a fact of life, that Olympic races have lots of pressure and the urge to push harder than one can, to hurdle faster than one can need to be mastered..things happen and for Lo Lo Jones, it was a bad day. For Dawn Harper, it was a day of tremendous joy and surpise, but, this is the Olympics..
August 19, 2008
Women’s 100 meter hurdles, Lo Lo Jones Stumbles, Dawn Harper takes Gold
The hurdle races, as we are constantly reminded, require sprinting and hurdling technique.
Sprinting between hurdles, hurdling over ten hurdles is quite a challenge. Way back in 1992,
in Barcelona, Gail Devers, after having won the 100 meters, hit the hurdles hard and finished fifth.
In the semi finals, Susana Kallur of Sweden, one of the medal hopefuls, hit the first hurdle smack on and went down. This is a tough event.
In the final, LoLo Jones had a good start, and by the third hurdle was in complete command of the race, her hurdling pristine and her timing precise. She was building up a strong lead, and by the eighth hurdle, Lo Lo Jones had the race won, or so we thought…
There are ten hurdles in the 100 meter hurdles and on the ninth, Lo Lo Jones clipped the hurdle on the way over and stumbled, “Perhaps I was too fast.” noted Lo Lo later. Jones hit the hurdle hard, but recovered and tried to save her race.
The level of competition is way too hard here and way too unforgiving. First, Dawn Harper of the US, who trains in Los Angeles and went to East St.Louis High School, ran her race and took the gold, running 12.54, her personal best.
Second, Sally McLellan of Jamaica went by, taking the silver in 12.64. Then, Priscilla Lopes-Schiep of Canada went by, taking the bronze in 12.64. Cherry Damu had a sub par race, finishing fourth in 12.65. Delloreen Ennis London of Jamaica, another of the fabulous Jamaican hurdlers, took fifth in 12.65. Fellow Jamaican Bridgitte Foster Hylton took sixth in 12.66.
Lo Lo Jones ended up in seventh in 12.72. The expletive that was coming out of her mouth as she crossed the line could be understood. Jones was on the way to creaming a world class field, and she did what all hurdlers do sometime in their career, hit a hurdle.
Jones said, ” You always hit a hurdle a couple of times a year….it will be hard tonight.”
Dawn Harper was totally surprised with her win. Afterwards she revealed a letter from fellow East St. Louis High school grad Jackie Joyner Kersee! JJK had wished her well and told her to stick with her dreams. Dawn Harper did just that, and guess what? For Dawn Harper, her dreams came true.
For Lo Lo Jones, she will cry, she will get mad, and she will go back to training, knowing that next year is Berlin and in four years, there could be London. That is the life of an Olympic athlete.