American Happer wins women's 100m hurdles 2008-08-19 22:32:15   Print

Dawn Harper of the United States celebrates after the women's 100m hurdles final at the National Stadium, also known as the Bird's Nest, during Beijing 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China, Aug. 19, 2008. Dawn Harper won the match. (Xinhua/Guo Dayue)
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    BEIJING, Aug. 19 (Xinhua) -- Dawn Harper of the United States won the gold medal in women's 100-meter hurdles at the Beijing Olympic Games on Tuesday to achieve her first Olympic title.

    Harper, 24, finished in 12.54 seconds to make a come-from-behind victory in the race. She pushed herself harder after passing first seven hurdles and came out of the sprint through the home stretch to the finish with a visible lead.

    The U.S. hurdler, who is on the first Olympic trip, also created her best result in this season.

    "The amount of work that goes on is amazing. But the person still has to win the race on the day and today was my day," said the American athlete. "In the morning I might sit up and cry with joy."

    "Before the Games, one of my friends sent me an email that said, 'you can do this'. So I did it for other people, not just for me, " she said. "I did it and now I am holding this Gold medal. It is surreal and it is a blessing.

    "My coach told me before the race that 'the colour of the medal is up to you'," she added.

    Sally McLellan from Australia and other three hurdlers had run for such a close competition that she could not make sure of a silver medal until a ranking was given by the scoreboard. She finished in 12.64 seconds.

    McLellan's second place was shown by a photo finish presented on the big screen at the National Stadium, known as Bird's Nest, which indicated that she outpaced the third place with her chest ahead.

    "Oh my God, is it real? This is amazing and I can't believe this is even happening," she said. "My coach's told me to run my own race and I actually did it for once."

    Priscilla Lopes-Schliep from Canada won the bronze medal although her result was the same with the Australia's on the scoreboard.

    "I didn't know what happened. When I saw the photo finish, I was all tingling," said the Canadian hurdler. "It was so close, I didn't know I'd won a Bronze. When I saw my name, it was just such a flood of joy."

    "The first Olympics was all about experience. This Olympics, my dreams became reality," said the 25-year-old Canadian who is going to have her birthday on Aug. 26.

    "It's exciting to be the only Canadian in athletics to bring home a medal and it's a great birthday present for me," she said.

    Lolo Jones of U.S., one of the most favorites of the event, led the race in the middle, but she collided the ninth hurdle only to finish seventh.

    "The hurdles were just coming up too fast and I just couldn't maintain control. So I crashed and burned," said 26-year-old Jones who created this season's best of 12.43 seconds in the heats.

    "Honestly it is a shock. It was very difficult to get back up and I just have to get myself back up," she said.

    The gold medalist said she had noticed Jones' stumbling during the race, "from the beginning you never give up, you go for it because in the hurdles anything can happen. Unfortunately, she hit a hurdle."

    "You expect anything in hurdles; false starts, falls, anything, " said bronze medalist Lopes-Schliep. "I've gone down before. It makes you a better athlete and competitor in the end."

    "I grabbed Sally because we were underdogs and no one expected us to win," she added.   

Dawn Harper(R) of the United States competes during the women's 100m hurdles final at the National Stadium, also known as the Bird's Nest, during Beijing 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China, Aug. 19, 2008. Dawn Harper won the match. (Xinhua/Jiao Weiping)
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Editor: Wang Yan
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