Christina Clemons took the win in Berlin on Friday in the 60m in 7.83 WL. Stuart Weir, a man who has a super user account on BBC TV, did this piece on the most excellent hurdler at her most excellent adventure at the 2021 ISTAF Berlin.
Christian Clemons won the 60m hurdles at the ISTAF Berlin in 6.83, a world lead, commenting: “WL with 7.83s – this is exactly what I have been training for. I actually have been preparing for this since the last indoor season. I have been training and wanted to make this my best indoor season so far. The race was not perfect, we all have our flaws, I could have been a little more aggressive in the middle of the race but I was able to recover and ran a really good time for me at this time of the year.
“The indoor season is still important for me because this is an Olympic year and I can use this to prepare myself for the outdoor season, gain some confidence and just run really well.
It was great running here, even without spectators, because I had great competitors to run against. I love coming here, I come here every year. It is always great here. I PRed here in 2017. The goal is to improve. I am not satisfied with today’s result. My coach and I are striving for the World Record!”
In 2018 in Birmingham, she took silver in the World Indoors, commenting at the time: “I was so happy. I could tell I was in second place and thought, thank you, God, for this medal. The championship has been great, the support is electric. The fans do really come out here and support you.” She also won the World Indoor Series in 2018.
She started track and field in middle school: “I did long jump. I was in sixth grade and I jumped, I think it was, 14 feet. My gym teacher went crazy and said: ‘can you do that again?’ And I jumped 14 feet again. He says,’ do you know how amazing that is?’ And from then I kept doing it until high school”. She told me that she hasn’t done long jump for years.
Her reasons for becoming a hurdler are, perhaps, not the purest. She recalls: “They wanted me to be a sprinter. But the first day of practice we were to do 10 X 200s and I did my one little 200 and I was about to pass out. I looked over at the hurdlers and all they were doing was walking over hurdles so I said I think I’ll go over and try that. And I finished up staying there. I competed in the first meet and did really well. So when I went to college, they found out that I had the sprint speed and that I could hurdle so I became a sprint hurdler”.
After a stellar college career – 10 times Big Ten champion and 11 times All American and two times national champion – in her first professional year she ruptured her Achilles on the right foot and that injury took 12 months before she was able to touch a track again. And with that injury came other small injuries like hamstring – a lot of hamstring pulls, a strained calf, the other Achilles…
She made the US team for London 2017 and finished 5th in final. A great achievement but bitter-sweet: “I was upset. It was very upset that I did not medal because I know I have the ability that I could have medaled”.
At one stage she was known for competing in blue lips. She explained that: “The uniforms were blue and I wanted a blue lipstick but I did not want a light blue so I got the dark blue but I was not sure about it at first, I wasn’t going to wear it all the time – just for that one meet – but people liked it so much that that I kept it”.
Away from the track, she describes herself as:”very goofy, very silly, always laughing always playing. I write music – that is something I do away from track. I sing but I don’t want to be a singer, I want to be a song-writer. If I could do anything outside of track, that would be it. I write all kinds of music – R&B, I can do pop”.
Her next event is Lievin in France on Wednesday, still chasing that world record.