Former University of Kentucky track and field star Kendra Harrison ran the women’s 100-meter hurdles in 12.20 seconds to set a world record at the IAAF Diamond League meet in London on Friday.
“I’m so full of emotions right now!” the 23-year-old Harrison said afterward.
The previous record, which had stood for 28 years, had been held by Bulgaria’s Yordanka Donkova at 12.21 seconds.
Harrison was coming off a disappointing finish at the U.S. Olympic Trials two weeks ago where she failed to qualify for the Rio Games.
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“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.
The three women who defeated Harrison at the U.S. trials — Brianna Rollins, Kristi Castlin and Nia Ali — were second, third and fourth on Friday.
Harrison will still be cheering on her teammates in Rio.
“You have one bad day but I knew I still had it in me,” Harrison said, referring to her sixth-place finish at the U.S. trials earlier this month. “I was coming out here with just vengeance to show these girls what I have.”
Harrison’s performance upstaged Usain Bolt, who looked in fine shape for the Olympics by winning his last race before Rio de Janeiro on his return from injury.
Bolt rarely has anything to prove to anyone. But the six-time Olympian champion had to show in London that he hasn’t been slowed by the hamstring injury that led to him withdrawing from his country’s Olympic trials.
In his first 200-meter race of the season, the world’s fastest man ran 19.89 seconds at the Olympic Stadium he left with three golds four years ago during the London Games.
“I’m not fully in shape. I need more work but over time I will be fine,” Bolt said, according to the Associated Press. “I could feel the rust. The execution I think up there wasn’t perfect but it was my first run so I can’t complain.”
The only complaints Bolt had were targeted at American rivals who had lightly suggested — not strongly — that he got preferential treatment by being allowed to skip the Jamaican trials.
“I felt it was a joke,” Bolt said. “I felt it was a disrespect the fact they think I’d back out of a trials. Me, Usain Bolt who has proven myself year (after) year that I’m the greatest. “I laughed when I heard it. I was disappointed, especially in Justin Gatlin.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.