Former University of Kentucky stars took the gold and silver medals in the women’s 100-meter hurdles at the Tokyo Olympics on Monday morning.
Jasmine Camacho-Quinn, who had set an Olympic record in the semifinals, outran world record holder Keni Harrison. A photo finish was needed to separate Harrison from bronze medal winner Megan Tapper of Jamaica.
Camacho-Quinn, running for Puerto Rico, is that country’s first gold medal winner in an athletics event.
She finished in 12.37 seconds for a .15 second win over Harrison, who was .03 seconds ahead of Tapper. The Bahamas’ Devynne Charlton, a volunteer assistant coach for UK, finished sixth with a time of 12.74.
“Waking up this morning, there was adrenaline just rushing. I was like, ‘Let’s get it.’ I was working on six hours of sleep — I didn’t care, I had a goal. I definitely came here and accomplished that,” Camacho-Quinn said, according to a report by the BBC.
“It’s amazing. The first gold medal in track and field for Puerto Rico and the second gold medal ever — I don’t know how to explain it right now but it really does mean a lot.”
Jasmine Camacho-Quinn wins gold for Puerto Rico!@TeamUSA's @Ken_AYE_ claims the silver in the women's 100m hurdles. #TokyoOlympics
: NBC Sports App pic.twitter.com/mNV7NFzJpp
— #TokyoOlympics (@NBCOlympics) August 2, 2021
Camacho-Quinn finished in 12.26 seconds, fourth all-time, in the semifinals. Harrison’s world-record time was 12.20 seconds.
The buildup to that world-record mark in 2016 played out awkwardly. Harrison finished sixth at the U.S. Olympic Trials and was denied the trip to Rio de Janeiro. A few weeks later, she traveled to London and set the record, then returned home to watch the Americans sweep the podium.
Given that, Harrison said the silver felt like a win.
“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.
Though their time at Kentucky didn’t overlap, Camacho-Quinn and Harrison have trained together in the past.
“Today felt like old times. Like we were back training again,” Harrison said. “I knew she was going to bring her ‘A’ game. I had to bring mine.”
Harrison also thanked her family for supporting her.
“To be adopted, and to be raised in such a big family, and for my siblings to see the journey I’ve been doing — I hope I made them proud,” Harrison said.
Camacho-Quinn kept the United States out of the win column at the Olympic track meet for yet another session. Puerto Rico, a U.S. territory that competes under its own flag at the Olympics, has one more track gold medal than the deepest team at the Games as the meet approaches its halfway point.
“Puerto Rico is such a small country but this will give little kids hope, and I’m glad I’m the person who does that,” Camacho-Quinn said. “Anything is possible and everybody here has been training hard for this moment. Honestly, I think all of us should be awarded for this. It’s been a very hard year, but I’m really thankful.”