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Dawn Harper Nelson’s Continental Cup record earns USATF AOW

INDIANAPOLIS -- Dawn Harper Nelson earns USA Track & Field Athlete of the Week after  a record-breaking performance Sept. 14 at the IAAF Continental Cup in Marrakech, Morocco.
Harper Nelson (Los Angeles, California) won the women’s 100-meter hurdles title, running 12.46 for a new IAAF Continental Cup meet record. The previous record of 12.60 was set in Barcelona in 1989 by Germany’s Cornelia Oschkenat of the European team.
“I knew I had to perform,” said Harper Nelson. “I wanted to be aggressive, so I was very happy when I crossed the line first because I knew Team America needed those points as well.”
Her world-leading 12.44 set at the Diamond League meeting in Paris has yet to be surpassed, and she reflected on the season, saying:
“It was the season I definitely thought I was going to have. I felt like I made it harder for myself with some bad starts in some races. But I knew if I stayed mentally tough, I could end up with the Diamond League trophy. Continental Cup was the icing on the cake. To finish the year No. 1 in U.S. was just great!”
Click the video below to watch Dawn Harper Nelson’s record-breaking performance at IAAF Continental Cup in Marrakech, Morocco.

Other top performances of the week include:
  • Maria Michta (Long Island, New York) was crowned champion after her 30 km finish of 2:34:42 helped set a new 25 km American record of 2:07:46, marking her fourth AR of 2014.
  • Dave Talcott (Oswego, New York) took the men’s overall and the M50 age group titles with his finish of 2:37:52 for a 37-second improvement on his runner-up performance from last year.
  • Emma Coburn (Crested Butte, Colorado) ran a steady race in the women’s 3,000m steeplechase, remaining among the top few as she traded first and second place positions up to the bell lap. Coburn kicked it into high gear after the final water jump as her shoulder-to-shoulder competitor tripped over the last steeple and Coburn earned the victory in 9:50.67.
  • Gia Lewis-Smallwood (Champaign, Illinois) continued her phenomenal 2014 season, winning the women’s discus with a throw of 64.55m/211-9 to take the competition. She held off a final throw of 62.08m/203-8 from Sandra Perkovic, the Diamond League champion, to win the Continental Cup title. In doing so, Lewis-Smallwood scored eight points for the Americas team.
Now in its 13th year, USATF’s Athlete of the Week program is designed to recognize outstanding performers at all levels of the sport. USATF names a new honoree each week and features the athlete on Selections are based on top performances and results from the previous week.
2014 Winners: January 15, Chris Derrick; January 22, Galen Rupp; January 29, Galen Rupp; February 5, Alexa Efraimson; February 12, Mike Rutt; Feb. 19, Bernard Lagat; Feb. 26,Sharon Day-Monroe; March 3, David Torrence; March 13, Francena McCorory; March 19, Irene Obera; March 26, Duane Solomon; April 2, Maria Michta; April 7, Noah Lyles; April 14, Kendell Williams; April 21, Meb Keflezighi; April 28, Kristi Castlin; May 7, Maria Michta; May 14, Erik Kynard; May 21, Emma Coburn; May 28, Brenda Martinez; June 2, Galen Rupp; June 9, Tori Bowie; June 16, Trayvon Bromell; June 23, Charles Austin; June 30, Devon Allen, July 7, Kaylin Whitney; July 14, Emma Coburn; July 21, Florence Meiler; July 28, Kaylin Whitney; August 4, Ed Burke; August 11, Cierra White; Aug. 21, Gwen Berry; Aug. 27, Myles Marshall; Sept. 3, Gia Lewis Smallwood; Sept. 10, Justin Gatlin; Sept. 17, Dawn Harper Nelson.
USA Track & Field is the National Governing Body for track and field, long-distance running and race walking in the United States. USATF encompasses the world's oldest organized sports, some of the most-watched events of Olympic broadcasts, the country’s No. 1 high school and junior high school participatory sport and more than 30 million adult runners in the United States. For more information on USATF, visit

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