Olympic Women’s 100H — An Historic Gold for Puerto Rico

Jasmine Camacho-Quinn’s win over WR holder Keni Harrison gave her nation its first track gold ever. (KIRBY LEE/IMAGE OF SPORT)

IT HAS BEEN A LONG 5-YEAR WAIT for both Jasmine Camacho-Quinn and Keni Harrison to redeem themselves on the Olympic stage but the pair came away from Tokyo with gold and silver to bring closure to the heartbreak of events in the summer of ’16.

Camacho-Quinn, then a Kentucky frosh, had won the first of what would be two NCAA titles. But the Puerto Rican fell and was disqualified in the Rio semis, while Harrison didn’t even make it to the Games, having finished 6th in the U.S. Trials but set a still-standing WR of 12.20 just two weeks later.

On Monday morning in the Japanese capital, in the first track final in Tokyo to be held in daylight, Harrison and Camacho-Quinn lined up alongside each other in lanes 4 and 5. As expected, the race turned into a duel between the two.

Camacho-Quinn started fractionally the quicker — with a 0.149 reaction time to Harrison’s 0.158 — and it was an advantage she was to hold all the way to the line.

By the third barrier, Camacho-Quinn perceptibly was ahead and from that point Harrison was playing catch up. However, JCQ kept her focus and kept flawlessly clearing the barriers to edge further away over hurdles 4, 5 and 6, leaving Harrison too much to do over the second half of the race. This proved true even as Camacho-Quinn clipped hurdle 9 and stutter-stepped t0 10. Her lead held safe.

The favored Puerto Rican crossed the line in 12.37 to clinch the Caribbean island’s first track gold, and only its second in any sport, while Harrison claimed the silver in 12.52.

“It really means a lot. This year I trained really hard, I don’t have a training partner, I’m by myself, so every time I stepped out there, I gave it all I had,” commented the Florida-based Camacho-Quinn, who has been training with John Coghlan in the Sunshine State only since December.

“This was what I wanted for this year, I wanted to be a gold medalist and I manifested that. I spoke it into existence,” added Camacho, who grew up in South Carolina but opted to represent her mother’s native Puerto Rico.

Inevitably, post-race interviews also brought up the Rio semi, with Camacho-Quinn having missed the ’19 WC due to injury.

“I was embarrassed, like I disappointed the whole country. I went into hiding in my first semester back at the University of Kentucky but then I said I wasn’t going to let the race decide my future.”

“I’m constantly reminded; somebody’s always messaging me and like, ‘Oh I’m sorry for what happened’ and I’m like ‘I need y’all to let that go, please,’” she laughed.

“But yesterday before semis I kind of had a breakdown because I don’t want the same thing to happen again, but I knew how I’d been racing all season, just do that and I’ll be OK.”

Indeed, she was OK.

In her semi, Camacho-Quinn exorcised plenty of the Rio demons when she flew to an OR 12.26, smashing Sally Pearson’s previous record of 12.35 from London ’12 as well as her own PR of 12.32 from April, which was the world-lead ahead of Tokyo. It also moved her to =No. 4 on the all-time world list.

For Harrison, it was her second successive silver at a global championship following on from a similar medal at the ’19 WC. “To miss out in Rio and then come to my first Olympics and get a silver medal — of course, everyone wants the gold — but I got myself back out here on this world stage and I’m getting better and better,” she said.

Unheralded on the outside in lane 9, Jamaica’s Megan Tapper came through to get an unexpected bronze in 12.55, just 0.02 outside her PR from the heats.

Gabbi Cunningham, who finished 4th at the OT but got added to the team after reigning Olympic champ Brianna McNeal’s doping dismissal, couldn’t quite match her Eugene times in Tokyo but made the final after running 12.67 in her semi.

However, a poor start in the final meant Cunningham was never realistically in medal contention after the gun and she finished 7th in 13.01.

The third U.S. hurdler, Christina Clemons, was 4th in her semi in 12.76 but that was not quick enough to see her progress.


WOMEN’S 100H RESULTS

(August 02; wind –0.3) (temperature 91F/33C; humidity 60%)

100H(-0.3): 1. Jasmine Camacho-Quinn (PR) 12.37; 2. Kendra Harrison (US) 12.52; 3. Megan Tapper (Jam) 12.55; 4. Tobi Amusan (Ngr) 12.60; 5. Nadine Visser (Neth) 12.73; 6. Devynne Charlton (Bah) 12.74; 7. Gabbi Cunningham (US) 13.01; 8. Brittany Anderson (Jam) 13.24.

(lanes: 2. Cunningham; 3. Visser; 4. Harrison; 5. Camacho-Quinn; 6. Amusan; 7. Anderson; 8. Charlton; 9. Tapper)

(reaction times: Charlton 0.144, Camacho-Quinn 0.149, Visser 0.152, Harrison 0.158, Amusan 0.161, Anderson 0.164, Tapper 0.166, Cunningham 0.172)

HEATS (July 31)

I(1.0)–1. Andrea Carolina Vargas (CR) 12.71; 2. Visser 12.72; 3. Cunningham 12.83; 4. Cindy Sember (GB) 13.00; 5. Jiamin Chen (Chn) 13.09; 6. Reetta Hurske (Fin) 13.10; 7. Ayako Kimura (Jpn) 13.25; 8. Ricarda Lobe (Ger) 13.43.

II(0.4)–1. Harrison 12.74; 2. Liz Clay (Aus) 12.87; 3. Luminosa Bogliolo (Ita) 12.93; 4. Elvira Herman (Blr) 12.95; 5. Mulern Jean (Hai) 12.99; 6. Ebony Morrison (Lbr) 13.00; 7. Sarah Lavin (Ire) 13.16; 8. Laura Valette (Fra) 14.52.

III(0.4)–1. Amusan 12.72; 2. Yanique Thompson (Jam) 12.74; 3. Pia Skrzyszowska (Pol) 12.75 PR; 4. Charlton 12.84; 5. Annimari Korte (Fin) 13.06; 6. Marthe Yasmine Koala (Bur) 13.11; 7. Masumi Aoki (Jpn) 13.59;… dnf—Elisávet Pesirídou (Gre).

IV(-1.1)–1. Anderson 12.67; 2. Christina Clemons (US) 12.91; 3. Luca Kozák (Hun) 12.97; 4. Pedrya Seymour (Bah) 13.04; 5. Elisa Maria Di Lazzaro (Ita) 13.08; 6. Teresa Errandonea (Spa) 13.15; 7. Ketiley Batista (Bra) 13.40.

V(0.3)–1. Camacho-Quinn 12.41; 2. Tapper 12.53 PR; 3. Anne Zagré (Bel) 12.83; 4. Tiffany Porter (GB) 12.85; 5. Asuka Terada (Jpn) 12.95; 6. Klaudia Siciarz (Pol) 12.98; 7. Zoë Sedney (Neth) 13.03; 8. Ditaji Kambundji (Swi) 13.17; 9. Camila Pirelli (Par) 13.98.

SEMIS (August 02)

I(-0.8)–1. Amusan 12.62; 2. Charlton 12.66; 3. Vargas 12.69; 4. Clemons 12.76; 5. Siciarz 12.84; 6. Terada 13.06;… dnf—Kozák, Thompson.

II(0.0)–1. Anderson 12.40 PR; 2. Harrison 12.51; 3. Clay 12.71 PR; 4. Bogliolo 12.75 NR; 5. Porter 12.86; 6. Skrzyszowska 12.89; 7. Jean 13.09; 8. Seymour 13.09.

III(-0.2)–1. Camacho-Quinn 12.26 NR (WL) (=4, =6 W) (OR);

2. Tapper 12.62; 3. Visser 12.63; 4. Cunningham 12.67; 5. Herman 12.71; 6. Morrison 12.74 NR; 7. Sember 12.76; 8. Zagré 12.78. ◻︎

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