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Keni Harrison breaks 28-year-old record en route to fourth USATF Athlete of the Week honor


INDIANAPOLIS-- American hurdler Keni Harrison has been chasing down the women’s 100m hurdles world record nearly all season after breaking the American record at the Nike Prefontaine Classic in May. On Friday, Harrison struck again at the IAAF Diamond League meeting in London, breaking the 100m hurdles world record, earning her USATF Athlete of the Week.

Harrison (Clayton, North Carolina), established her rhythm early in the meet on Friday, by dominating in the preliminary round of the 100m hurdles with a time of 12.40. Later in the day in the 100m hurdles finals, Harrison would improve upon her earlier success, crossing the line in 12.20 to break the previous 100mH world record held by Yordanka Donkova set in 1988. Harrison’s record-breaking time now gives her six of the seven fastest 100mH times in the world this year.

“After prelims, I finally got my confidence back. I told myself that I can do this and my coach told me to lean [at the line],” Harrison said after the race. “My practices after Trials were great, so going into the race, I had so much vengeance and so many emotions inside of me.”

In the finals, Harrison made a great jump out of the blocks and had an early advantage by the fourth hurdle. Harrison extended her lead in the final hurdles, winning the race by a considerable margin. Harrison was followed to the finish line by fellow Americans Brianna Rollins, Kristi Castlin and Nia Ali, who congratulated her when her time of 12.20 was made official just moments after the race.

“Going into the race, I was nervous. I tried to push all the doubt out of my mind. In the blocks, I just kept saying, ‘give it all you have’ and ‘you’re the best,” Harrison said. “I’m just blessed to go out there and give it all I have. To see that time, I was really happy.”

Harrison’s record-breaking performance comes just two weeks after her sixth-place finish at the U.S. Olympic Trials - Track & Field, in which Harrison failed to finish within the top three finishers to qualify for the U.S. Olympic Team.

You have to get top 3 at Trials and I knew that. That’s what makes making the American team so special,” Harrison said.

Moving forward, Harrison noted her intentions to compete in the 400m hurdles in future meets, an event that she was the 2014 SEC Champion and NCAA runner-up at the University of Kentucky. For now, Harrison is the 100mH world record holder and USATF Athlete of the Week for the fourth time this year.

Other notable performances include:

  • Sandi Morris (Greensville, South Carolina) had the highest outdoor vault ever by an American woman with her vault of 4.93m/16-2 at the American Track League meeting in Houston. Morris’s vault narrowly tops the previous American Outdoor record of 4.92m/16-1.75 set by Jenn Suhr in 2006.

  • Candace Hill (Conyers, Georgia) took first in the 100m with a time of 11.07 in the World Junior Championships on Thursday, good for a new World Junior Championships meet record. Hill’s meet record puts her seventh all-time in under-20 competition. Hill also anchored the women’s 4x100m in impressive fashion, claiming her second gold medal of the championships.

  • Michael Norman (Murrieta Valley, California) set a World Junior Championships meet record in Bydgoszcz, Poland, by running a 20.17 200m in the finals on Friday. Norman topped the previous record 20.28 set by Italy’s Andrew Howe in 2004. Norman was also a member of the gold medalist 4x100m team on Saturday.

Now in its 15th 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.

2016 Winners: Jan. 13, Garrett Heath; Jan. 20, Donavan Brazier; Jan. 27, Keni Harrison; Feb. 3, Jenn Suhr; Feb. 10, Vashti Cunningham; Feb. 17, Galen Rupp; Feb. 24, John Nunn; March 2, Curtis Beach; March 11, Bill Collins; March 16, Da’mira Allen; March 24, Michelle Carter; March 31, Janet Bawcom; April 8, Maria Michta-Coffey; April 14, Keni Harrison; April 22, LaShawn Merritt; April 28, Courtney Okolo; May 6, Ida Keeling; May 12, Willie Gault; May 18, Marquise Goodwin; June 2, Keni Harrison; June 9, Tia Brooks; June 16, Donavan Brazier; June 23, Sydney McLaughlin; June 30, Tia Jones; July 7, Allyson Felix; July 15, Bernard Lagat; July 22, Allen Woodard; July 29, Keni Harrison.

We welcome your nominations!

To nominate an athlete for USATF Athlete of the Week, please send a detailed email about his/her performance to

Andrew Eisch

Communications Intern

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