By Caitlyn Pilkington Published Jul. 22, 2016 Updated 8 hours ago
After missing the Olympic team at the Olympic Track Trials earlier this month, American Keni Harrison returned to the oval at the Müller Anniversary Games in London—and then she smashed a 28-year-old world record in the 100m hurdles. She broke it by .01 seconds, but she won her race by a massive margin.
So yes, this means what you’re thinking—the now-world record holder in the 100m hurdles won’t actually be racing on the biggest stage in Rio. Despite a great season, including an American record performance at the Prefontaine Classic earlier this year, the Olympic Trials were what we would call a “hiccup” for the hurdling stud. She finished sixth, when the top-three advance to the games.
Initially upon seeing the final time—12.58—on the board in London, Harrison didn’t have a clue she broke the record. The incorrect time displayed was quickly changed to reflect her actual 12.20 finishing time, and the runner broke down in celebration and emotion.
“Not making the Olympic team I was truly upset, and I wanted to come out here and do what I know I could have done,” Harrison said on the BBC. “I was coming out here with a vengeance to show these girls what I have.”
Who is Kendra Harrison?
She’s crazy fast! Kendra “Keni” Harrison represented the U.S. at the 2015 world championships, after finishing second at the U.S. championships (which qualifies you for worlds), as well as at the 2016 world indoor championships. Barely removed from an outstanding college career at University of Kentucky, Harrison won NCAA titles both indoors and outdoors last year as well.
Fun facts about this overnight sensation:
Keni Harrison is one of 10 children, nine of whom are adopted, including her.
Like many runners, Harrison’s first love was soccer, then hurdles.
At the 2015 U.S. championships, she placed a close second behind, NBD, the 2008 Olympic champion in the 100m hurdles. She made the worlds team but DQed after a false start in the semi-finals.
At the Prefontaine Classic in May 2016 at Hayward Field (the same track where the trials were held), Keni Harrison ran a 12.24, clearing every hurdle and running the second-fastest time in HISTORY. That is, until her PR turned into the world record on July 22.