Usain Bolt’s return upstaged by hurdler breaking 28-year world record
LONDON — Usain Bolt looked in fine shape for the Olympics by winning his last race before Rio de Janeiro on his return from injury.
Keni Harrison also looked more than ready for Brazil by breaking a 28-year record in the 100-meters hurdles in London on Friday.
Only, unlike Bolt, Harrison is not going to the Olympics.
While Bolt is Rio-bound despite being forced to pull out of the Jamaican trials with a hamstring injury, Harrison failed to make the American track squad after a poor performance at her trials.
Instead, Harrison will have to settle for her record-breaking night at the London Diamond League meet being her crowning moment of the summer.
The 23-year-old Harrison ran 12.20 seconds on the site of the 2012 Olympics to surpass Yordanka Donkova’s previous mark of 12.21 set in August 1988; before the American was born.
"Not making the Olympic team I was really upset," Harrison said. "And I wanted to come out here and do what I know what I could have done (in Rio)."
Even sweeter for Harrison was finishing ahead of compatriots Brianna Rollins and Kristi Castlin, who both qualified for the Olympics ahead of her.
"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."
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 same Olympic Stadium where four years ago he took golds from the 100, 200 and 4×100-meter relay races. On Friday, Bolt finished ahead of Alonso Edward of Panama and British runner Adam Gemili, clocking slower than LaShawn Merritt’s world-leading time of 19.74.
"I’m not fully in shape. I need more work but over time I will be fine," Bolt said. "I could feel the rust. The execution 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."
Elsewhere in London, there was a trio of French winners: Jimmy Vicaut ran a sluggish 100 meters in 10.02 seconds, Pierre-Ambroise Bosse clocked 1 minute, 43.88 seconds in the 800 and Renaud Lavillenie cleared 5.9 meters in the pole vault.
Olympic triple jump Christian Taylor prepared for his defense in Rio by reaching 17.78 meters.
There were a couple of victories for British women on the fast newly-laid track: Laura Muir in the 1,500 as well as the quartet of Asha Philip, Desiree Henry, Dina Asher-Smith and Daryll Neita in the 4×100-meter relay.
The meet continues for a second day on Saturday.