Published July 22, 2016
Updated July 23, 2016
Keni Harrison ran a fantastic time in the 100m hurdles at the Pre Classic, with a 12.24. Then, at the Trials, Keni Harrison finished sixth in the Trials. What an agony! Finally, in London, on July 22, Keni Harrison breaks a WR that lasted 28 years, with her fine 12.20!
Keni is the focus of several Gifs, showing when she realized that she had not run a ho hum time, but the WR!
Here is Alex Mill’s eyewitness story on the Keni’s fine race!
Sensational. Absolutely sensational. Few words can describe the achievement of Kendra Harrison on the 22nd July 2016. With the scars of the Olympic trials still fresh, Harrison made a magical revival to beat a seemingly unencroachable time and the finishing beam to break the women’s 100 metre hurdles world record in the most dramatic of fashions.
12.20 seconds and a short recovery on from leaving the starter’s blocks, the American’s Olympic heartache was been converted to ecstasy, at least somewhat. But only after some clarification.
Just two weeks after failing to make it to Rio 2016, the 23 year-old exploded out the blocks, cruised through air, over the hurdles and in to the history books, on the most perfect of still summer nights at the London Olympic Stadium.
So flawless was her hurdling that her performance almost went unmerited.
Having dipped under the beam of the finish line, what had appeared a far greater performance was rewarded with a time of 12.57s on the scoreboard. Which turned out instead to be that of runner-up Brianna Rollins. Instead she had broken the 28-year-old 12.21 record of Bulgaria’s Yordanka Donkova.
Hands on her hips walking around congratulating her opponents whilst looking away from the scoreboard, Harrison initially just seemed happy to have returned to winning ways, not knowing that what the stadium announcer would say was about to change her life.
Then in just a split second everything changed. As the mistake was announced and Harrison was urged to turn around by her fellow athletes, whilst the amendment of a new WR echoed around the stadium, her emotions flipped to shock and ecstasy. In what can only be described as a ‘meme’ worthy reaction, mouth open wide, Harrison slapped her hands to her cheeks in total shock as Nia Ali began to shake her in congratulation, before sinking to the floor as she cried with happiness.
The crowd rose to their feet to roar and applaud a huge moment in athletics history’s in between gasps of disbelief. For many this will be the first and only WR they will ever see in their lives. Though they may not have all appreciated the value and significance of the run or recognised the name of Keni Harrison, the speciality of the achievement was celebrated.
Having regained her composure slightly and posed by her time, Harrison spoke to the stadium announcers and the crowd: “Not making that Olympic team I knew I had to come out here and show the world I had it in me.” she said.
“My coach has been saying it since day one that I could make it happen and I’ve done it.”
Once photos were done and the rightful applause has ceased, Harrison headed into the mix-zone where her perfect race was further dissected.
“Just to come out here and win I was happy with that, to see 12.20 I was even more happy! I’m just really blessed, I thank god and my coach.” she said.
“Not making the Olympic team, I told myself ‘go after that world record.’ That’s the only thing that kept me going and training harder…It didn’t feel fast, it felt kind of smooth a little bit, but my coach he told me to lean no matter what and I’m happy I leaned.”
Many will point to tonights performance as another reason to question the American qualification system in which the first three past the post make the Olympic team, ignoring athlete’s overall form throughout the season.
Had previous performances been considered then Harrison would definitely be on the plane to Rio, yet an off weekend and a 6th place finish in the final of the US trials, meant a women who had run no slower than 12.66 all year and had just become the national record holder will watch the games from her coach.
Yet Harrison is pointing no fingers: “I didn’t make the top three, that was my fault, I didn’t go to the trials with the same mindset. I didn’t give it all I have and that’s my fault.”
As for whether it’ll be hard to still watch the games she added: “Of course it makes it difficult but I’m going to cheer them on and hopefully they’ll do their best and I’ll be here next year, I’ve still got an Olympics in the future.”
Nevertheless, she will now have to wait until after the games to compete again, though her season is still not over and nor are her aspirations to keep on improving her world record: “I still feel like I have a lot left in me, I still have three races left so I definitely going to be trying to break that again.”
Whether she achieves such a feat or not, with her win in London all but securing her the Diamond Race trophy, Harrison can head into 2017 assured of a place at a major championship. Meaning she will be able to return to the scene of her first world record to try and shine once more. This time, with the crowds and the clocks more accustomed to Keni Harrison.