Tokyo Olympics Day 10: A silver lining to Keni Harrison’s Olympic story

Five years after missing out on the Rio Games, the Clayton hurdler earned redemption in Tokyo by winning a silver medal in the 110 meter hurdles

Clayton's Keni Harrisoncelebrates after her second place finish in the women's 100-meters hurdles final at the Tokyo Olympics (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)

It took several minutes for the photo finish to determine second and third place in the women’s Olympic 110 meter hurdles in Tokyo on Monday. But Keni Harrison wasn’t waiting for the outcome to be determined.

Either way, she was finally an Olympic medalist. And from the look of joy on her face after crossing the finish line, the color of that medal wasn’t important.

It turned out to be silver, an accomplishment that provided an “ecstatic” ending to a journey that began five years earlier when the Clayton native missed out on qualfying for the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro.

“I learn from my mistakes,” Harrison said in a postrace interview with NBC Sports. “At the end, I’m looking at the finish line and I kind of forgot about the hurdles that were in front of me, so I was just grateful to finish strong. Just to get a silver medal at this stage is amazing.”

Harrison, the world record holder in the event, was favored to win gold in Rio before finishing a disappointing sixth at the U.S. trials and failing to make the team. She earned redeption in Tokyo by edging out Megan Tapper of Jamaica to the finish line behind gold medalist Jasmine Camacho-Quinn of Puerto Rico.

NC State’s Gabbi Cunningham finished seventh in the race.

Although the scoreboard at Olympic Stadium originally posted Harrison as having finished third, a review of the finish elevated the 28-year-old to the silver medal position. It marked the sixth consecutive Olympics that an American has won a medal in the 100 meters.

Harrison wasn’t the only medal winner in the event with a North Carolina tie. Gold medalist Camacho-Quinn is the sister of former UNC football star and current Chicago Bear Robert Quinn.

She and Harrison are are both graduates of the University of Kentucky and have spent time leading up to the Tokyo Games as training partners.

“Today just kind of felt like old times, like we were back training again,” Harrison said, “so I knew that she was going to bring her A game and I had to bring mine.”

Medal count

________________________________Gold    Silver    Bronze    Total

USA                                                22           25           17            64

China                                             29           17           16            62

ROC                                               12            21           17            50

Great Britain                                11            12           12            35

Japan                                             17             6             10           33

Carolina Connections

Anna Cockrell of Charlotte was one of three American runners to earn a spot in the finals of the women’s 400 meters. The Hough High School graduate finished second in her semifinal and fifth overall in a time of 54.17, joining countrywomen Sydney McLaughlin and Dallah Muhammad in Tuesday’s medal round.

Pole vaulter Sandi Morris, who started her college career at UNC before transferring to Arkansas, cleared 14.4 (4.40 meters) feet on her first jump, but injured herself when her pole broke on her first attempt at 14.9 (4.55) and had to drop out of the competition. Morris was a silver medalist in Rio.

Holly Springs native Andrew Capobianco, attempting to add an individual medal to the silver he won last week the synchronized diving event, got off to a slow start in the 3-meter springboard competition. He placed 17th with a score of 385.50. The good news for Caponianco is that the top 18 advance to the semifinals. The even better news is that the scores reset for each round, meaning that he’ll have a chance to start over from scratch when he returns to the pool on Tuesday.

Shane Baz of the Durham Bulls pitches during the second inning of Monday’s Olympic baseball game against Japan (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

Durham Bulls pitcher Shane Baz started on the mound for Team USA in a key baseball matchup with Japan, giving up two runs in 2 2/3 innings of work. Former UNC right-hander and Huntersville native Ryder Ryan pitched a scoreless inning of relief to preserve a late U.S. lead that lasted until the ninth inning, when the host nation scored to tie the game. Japan then won the game in the 10th, sending the Americans into the loser’s bracket of the double elimination knockout round.

Duke alumnus Oderah Chidom put together a strong line of 13 points on 6 of 8 shooting, seven rebounds, three assists and two blocked shots for the Nigerian women’s basketball team, but it wasn’t enough to prevent a 102-83 loss to Japan in the final game of pool play.

Team USA Highlights

American gymnast Jade Carey won the gold medal on floor exercise. The 21-year-old gymnast from Arizona bounced back from a frightening stumble during the vault final on Sunday to claim the top spot on floor with a score of 14.366. The medal is the fifth claimed by the U.S. women’s gymnastics team in Tokyo even with star Simone Biles sitting out four finals to focus on her mental health.

Valarie Allman prepares to throw the discus on her way to a gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

Discus thrower Valarie Allman won the first track and field gold medal at the Tokyo Games for the U.S. Allman’s winning throw went 68.98 meters (226 feet, 3 inches) to hold off Kristin Pudenz of Germany in a competition that was delayed by rain. Yaime Perez of Cuba captured the bronze.

Sarah Robles earned her second straight Olympic bronze medal by finishing third in the women’s over-87 kilogram weightlifting competition. Robles lifted a total of 282 kilograms combined in the snatch and clean & jerk. Li Wenwen of China won the gold medal.

The U.S. women’s soccer team saw its gold medal hopes come to an end with a 1-0 semifinal loss to Canada on a controversial penalty kick in the 74th minute. The team, which includes NC Courage stars Lynn Williams and Sam Mewis, will play Australia in the bronze medal game.

Next up

Quanera Hayes of Hope Mills and Livingstone College makes her first appearance on the track in the preliminary heats of the women’s 400 meters. Also making their Olympic debuts are Duke’s Jessica Springsteen in equestrian jumping, and Camp Lejeune wrestler Staff Sgt. John Stefanowicz. Duke’s Jayson Tatum, who scored 27 points in Saturday’s win against the Czech Republic, leads the men’s basketball team into a quarterfinal matchup with Spain while Capobianco dives for a medal on the 3-meter springboard.

The Associated Press contributed to this story