Olympic champion Brianna McNeal showed her blazing speed Sunday in Stockholm.
She won a women’s 100-meter hurdles Diamond League race for the second time this season, posting a time of 12.38 seconds that not only was her best time of the season, but her third-best time ever.
And it was a meet record.
McNeal was just 0.18 seconds off the world record held by fellow American Keni Harrison.
“I felt like the girls pushed me, but I felt strong in the end despite not having the best start,” McNeal said.
She was the only American winner in Stockholm, the sixth stop of the 14-meet Diamond League circuit.
McNeal has reached the podium in three of four Diamond League races since returning from a one-year suspension that came from three missed tests. She hit a hurdle in Rome and appeared to hurt her leg, finishing ninth.
She also won in May in Shanghai.
2008 Olympic gold medalist Dawn Harper-Nelson was sixth, 0.05 seconds behind Christina Manning.
Phyllis Francis, the 2017 world champion, led a 2-3-4-5-6 finish for Americans in the women’s 400-meter.
Francis and Jessica Beard finished behind winner Salwa Eid Naser of Bahrain. Francis had a season-best time of 50.07 seconds. Shamier Little, Jaide Stepter and Courtney Okolo followed Beard.
“It wasn’t bad for my third 400-meter of the season, but now I’m looking forward to progressing further,” Francis said. “I’m happy with a season’s best today, but there’s more to come.”
Sam Kendricks, the 2016 Olympic bronze medalist who was undefeated in 2017, finished runner-up in the men’s pole vault. After missing his final jump, Kendricks hugged winner Armand Duplantis, an American high schooler and Louisiana State recruit who competes for Sweden.
“Second place always means you had good competition and I saw a lot of cool things today,” Kendricks said.
Reigning Olympic champion Jeff Henderson finished second in the men’s long jump with a distance of 8.39, finishing behind Juan Echevarria of Cuba.
Three-time Olympian Jenny Simpson just missed a podium finish in the women’s 1,500. She was edged out by Rababe Arafi of Morocco at the finish line for third place. Gudaf Tsegay of Ethiopia won the race in a meet-record time of 3:57.64. Great Britain’s Laura Muir was second.
Also placing fourth was Ameer Webb in the men’s 200.
Shakeela Saunders finished fifth in the women’s long jump and Ben True was fifth in the men’s 5,000.
The next Diamond League stop is June 30 in Paris. Before then, many of the U.S. athletes will head to Des Moines, Iowa, for the June 21-24 USATF Outdoor Championships.
Paul D. Bowker has been writing about Olympic sports since 1996, when he was an assistant bureau chief in Atlanta. He is sports editor of the Cape Cod Times and a freelance contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.