After the disappointment of placing sixth at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Track and Field last month and missing out of a berth at the upcoming Rio 2016 Olympic Games, Keni Harrison sent a message that she’s still one of the best in the world in the women’s 100-meter hurdles. In fact, as of Friday evening, she now IS the best after breaking the world record with a time of 12.20 seconds at the Diamond League meet in London’s Stadium at Queen Elizabeth Park.
Harrison led an American sweep of the top four places and shaved 0.01 seconds off the world standard, a record head by Bulgaria’s Yordanka Donkova since Aug. 20, 1988. She hit the tape more than a quarter-second ahead of the three women who will compete in Rio. Brianna Rollins was second in 12.57 seconds, while Kristi Castlin was third at 12.59 seconds and Nia Ali took fourth in 12.63 seconds.
“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. Initially I saw 12.5 and I was just happy to come out here and win. I was so happy when it 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.”
The world record breakthrough comes after disappointments for Harrison that extend back to the 2015 world championships in Beijing, where she was disqualified for a false start in the semifinals. After flashing her brilliance with a 12.24-second result at Hayward Field during May’s Prefontaine Classic, her 12.62 seconds in the final at the Olympic Trials on the same track left her in sixth place and off the roster for Rio. After Friday’s win, Harrison now holds a solid lead in the Diamond Race with a 12-point advantage over Rollins with two races left in the series.
Reigning Olympic and two-time world champion Christian Taylor made the most of his final tune-up before Rio by winning the men’s triple jump with a world-leading effort of 17.78 meters, bettering his own season best of 17.76 meters from the Olympic Trials. Chris Carter was second for the U.S. with a jump of 16.89 meters.
Isiah Young, a member of the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team, took second in the men’s 100-meter with a time of 10.07 seconds, just behind France’s Jimmy Vicaut, who broke the tape in 10.02 seconds. Marvin Bracy, who earned a spot on the Rio roster, was fourth for the U.S. at 10.11 seconds. Michael Rodgers, also a member of the 2016 Olympic Team, was eighth with a time of 10.19 seconds.
In the women’s 400-meter, Olympic team members Natasha Hastings and Francena McCorory finished third and fourth, respectively. Hastings’ time of 50.49 seconds was nearly a second off the winning pace of Shaunae Miller from Bahamas, who rounded the track in 49.55 seconds, the fastest result in the world this season, bettering the 49.69 seconds by Allyson Felix at the Olympic Trials. McCorory posted a time Friday evening of 50.73 seconds.