Stuart Weir has observed all of the top women hurdlers in 2021. What follows are his observations on the Tokyo 100m hurdle final, which was an incredibly stressful final.
100 meters hurdles
I love the women’s sprint hurdles. The athletes execute the delicate maneuver of clearing ten hurdles at high speed. Some of them are world-class sprinters on the flat as well. Lawrence Clarke, a thoughtful GB high-hurdler used to debate whether the clearing of the hurdles or the running between them was more important! Both, Lawrence!
Jasmine Camacho-Quinn (Puerto Rico) was the stand-out favorite. Her record this year coming into the Games has been 13 races, 12 wins and a DQ. Her times included six at 12.50 or under with a best of 12.32. In the semi-final, she had set a new national and Olympic record of 12.26.
The result was
1 Jasmine Camacho-Quinn (Puerto Rico) 12.37
2 Keni Harrison (USA) 12.52
3 Megan Tapper (Jamaica) 12.55
4 Tobi Amusen (Nigeria) 12.60
The winner said afterward: “I was really running for the world record. I hit the hurdle, but everything happens for a reason. I came through with the gold. I am pretty sure everybody in Puerto Rico is excited. For such a small country it gives little people hope. I am just glad I am the person to do that”.
Keni Harrison failed to make the US team for the last Olympics and then broke the world record the same year. She commented: “I missed out in 2016 so to come here and get a medal for my country, I couldn’t be happier. It’s just about having confidence in myself. I trust my training, I trust my coach. One of my downfalls is when I come up against the stronger athletes and I knew it would be a tough race with Jasmine”. Quite a profound analysis that.
Megan Tapper is probably still dancing at securing her Olympic bronze: “It feels completely surreal. It’s still surreal… coming out here and running almost a personal best in the finals of the Olympic Games, that’s not something normal. I am not even 5ft 1in, and I am out there with an Olympic bronze medal.” Her hurdling is remarkable for someone who can barely see over the hurdles.
In all sports, the ability to produce your best when it matters is the key to success. The three medallists did that. One who didn’t was Britany Anderson whose 12.40 in the semi-final became 13.24 in the final. But the big news is that Jasmine Camacho-Quinn is the Olympic champion.