With Family Cheering, Hurdler Keni Harrison Eyes Olympics
EUGENE, Ore. (AP) — Even as the middle child in a family with 11 kids, Keni Harrison always stood out.
Only fitting, then, that her family stands out, too. A few of them are hoping they'll be at the stadium in Rio de Janeiro later this summer — dressed in their familiar neon shirts to cheer on Keni, the American record holder in the 100-meter hurdles, at the Olympics.
The 23-year-old Harrison grew up in Clayton, North Carolina, and used sports — first gymnastics, then soccer, then, finally, track — to carve her path in an oversized family. Harrison will try to secure her spot in Rio next week at the Olympic trials in Eugene, Oregon.
At first, she appeared headed toward a soccer career. She was super-fast, which drew the attention of the track coach who asked her to run in a few meets.
She showed so much potential even with little training and wearing tennis shoes. It didn't take long until she hit her stride, capturing 100 and 400 hurdles titles at the 2010 USA Junior Olympics. She caught the attention of Clemson, where she went before transferring to Kentucky and going on to twin two individual NCAA titles.