INDIANAPOLIS - Denzel Harper has been named USA Track & Field’s Athlete of the Week after winning five gold medals at the USATF National Junior Olympic Championships in Baltimore, Maryland. Harper became the first ever athlete to win five individual events at the Junior Olympics.
Competing in the youth boy’s division, Harper (Quicksilver Track Club) began his week at the Junior Olympics by winning the pentathlon title with 3,061 points and continued to have dominating performances throughout the competition. Harper went on to win titles in the long jump (6.45m/21-02), triple jump (12.91m/42-04.25), 100-meter hurdles (13.71) and 200m hurdles (25.01).
Though the five gold medals around his neck shows his innate talent, Harper said it took him competing at his very best in order to win them.
“I was seeded first in everything except the 100m hurdles so I knew I had to [run a personal record] to win the 100m hurdles,” Harper said. “In every race I had to [run a personal record] to win.”
Harper was able to run a personal record in every event, including a one-foot personal best in the long jump.
“I’m good under pressure,” Harper said. “I had to do the 100m hurdles semifinals while I was in the middle of triple jump and then the same thing happened in the long jump. It was great.”
Now in its 11th 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 www.usatf.org. Selections are based on top performances and results from the previous week.
2012 Winners: January 5, Landon Peacock; January 11, Kirubel Erassa; January 18, Shalane Flanagan; January 26, John Nunn; February 1, Gunnar Nixon; February 8, Jenn Suhr; February 14, Jillian-Camarena Williams; February 22, Brycen Spratling; February 28, Chaunte Lowe; March 7, Eric Broadbent; March 14, Ashton Eaton; March 21, Jeanne Daprano; March 27, Wallace Spearmon; April 3, Trevor Barron; April 9, Kevin Castille; April 18, Brittney Reese; April 25, Amy Sproston; May 2, Leo Manzano; May 9, Stephanie Brown-Trafton; May 16, Allyson Felix; May 23, Nick Hartle; May 30, Kimberlyn Duncan; June 6, Jessica Cosby and Meghan Vogel; June 13, Jesse Williams; June 20, Shelby Ashe; June 27, Ashton Eaton; July 4, Allyson Felix; July 12, Christian Cantwell; July 18, Gunnar Nixon; July 25 Evan Jager; August 1 Denzel Harper