Olympic Gold Medalist Dawn Harper Grabs Second Medal and The Tortoise and the Hare

By Femficatio News
First Published 5th August 2012, 13:23 GMT
Updated 6th August 2012, 22:30 GMT
Updated 7th August 2012, 20:23 GMT
Updated 7th August 2012, 21:31 GMT

Update: Dawn Harper takes 1st place in Semi’s with a time of 12.46!

Update: Dawn Harper takes SILVER at the Olympics!

Olympic Gold medalist Dawn Harper is living a Grimm fairy tale.

Sporting borrowed slippers (well spikes) at the Beijing Olympics in 2008, Dawn was forgotten at the ball – everyone was interviewing the favored American (US teammate Lolo Jones).  Yet, after Jones takes a  thunderous fall at the biggest event in athleticism, Dawn is able to soar straight through and take home the golden necklace – revealing the Olympic princess after-all.

And if this were truly a Grimm tale and not just my clichéd metaphor, Dawn would be the new darling of the hurdles world.  She would grace all the covers, get all the interviews and possibly drive some sort of fruit-shaped carriage, living happily ever after as the Olympic star for the 2012 London Games.

But this isn’t a fairy-tale.  Even though Jones finished 3rd in the U.S. Olympic Trials in June and finished fifth-place in Oslo, Norway (because she hit a hurdle, yet again) she still graced the cover of Time’s special Olympic issue and has been interviewed in countless media outlets from Jay Leno to ESPN.

Gorgeous Dawn Harper, courtesy of iamdawnharper.com

Jones’ popularity is supposedly due to her being an underdog; her injuries and her “exotic” good looks.

But despite Dawn Harper’s amazing stats she has been relatively ignored in sports and mainstream media. In 2012 for indoor 60m hurdles, Dawn ranked No. 12 in the USA and No. 23 in the world – for 2011 for outdoor 100m hurdles she ranked No. 2 in the USA and No. 3 in the world.

In 2012 Dawn finished 1st at Olympic Trials with a speed of 12.73; 1st at Rome; 2nd at Manchester Games; 1st at Daegu; 1st at Guadeloupe; 2nd at USATF Classic; 5th at U.S. Open 50mH.

Dawn is a 2008 Olympic gold medalist, 2011 World Outdoor bronze medalist, Two-time USA Outdoor champion (2009 and 2012), NACAC U23 champion (2006), Pan American Junior champion (2003).

Dawn Harper, Photography by Eric Scot

Jones finished 3rd in the trials, and has had the most inconsistent performance history. She was a Two-time World Indoor champion and finished first at the 2008 Olympic trials, with a much more impressive collegiate history than professional one. She seems to be more image conscious than sport focused, and she’s quoted more about her tumultuous upbringing, the assertion she’s still a virgin, and nude magazine shoots than critical analysis of the game.

But this isn’t about Jones.  As Janice Forsyth the director of the International Centre for Olympic Studies at the University of Western Ontario said about the Lolo Jones phenomenon “It reminds me of Anna Kournikova” and she goes on to say “[I don’t know if Lolo] is part of a marketing scheme to remain relevant in an Olympic industry where if you are not the Olympic champion, you are nothing.”

We know that in the craft of hurdles Dawn Harper is the winner. Sex, sob stories and twitter faux pas aren’t going to get Dawn up, over and through that winners ribbon. And we admire her, because she knows that too.

The Olympics robs cities; bleeds tax dollars that could be used for programs and infrastructure and benefits the wealthy few while leaving small businesses and communities destabilized. 

But from a human standpoint, the spirit of the game showcases the pinnacle of our physical potential;

health, concentration and strength.

Dawn Harper clearing hurdles, courtesy of Reuters.

Dawn Harper studied psychology at UCLA, so I’m sure she was mentally focused for Monday’s heat. And it paid off – Dawn cruised through to the semifinals in second place with a time of 12.75, 0.05ms behind Turkey’s Nevin Yanit. Teammate Jones finished first in her heat. Australian Sally Pearson finished at 12.57 – the fastest first round time in Olympics history.

Tomorrow, Dawn will be forever immortalized in the record books – as the first woman in Olympics history to defend her title in the 100m hurdles.

Though the race Dawn faces is tough, she seemed excited for the challenge“I know it’s going to come down to a lean – No one’s going to run away with it. It’s going to be good. I want the competition.”

But remember Dawn – you’re our superstar however you finish tomorrow and we’ll be rooting for you –

you’re already golden in our eyes.

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