Kendra Harrison winning the 60m hurdles at the IAAF World Indoor Championships Birmingham 2018 (© Getty Images)
Living up to immense pre-championships expectations, Kendra Harrison emerged victorious in the women's 60m hurdles, clocking a world-leading 7.70.
Her performance also broke the championships record of 7.72 and equalled the US national record set just two weeks ago, but for Harrison, those numbers, as impressive as they are, were secondary to finally securing an elusive world title.
Eighth at these championships two years ago, she famously broke the world 100m hurdles record which had stood for 28 years just weeks after failing to earn a spot on the Rio-bound US Olympic team. She then missed a medal at last year's IAAF World Championships where she finished fourth. Fairly or not, that recent string has tagged Harrison by many as a performer better suited for non-championship competition.
That's behind her now, thanks to an impressive and determined three-race series in which she clearly illustrated that she is at the moment the finest women's sprint hurdler on the planet.
After her 7.77 in the opening round, the 25-year-old said that in Birmingham, she'd run each race as a final. A 7.79 followed in the semis less than three hours earlier. Nobody had run as fast in the two opening rounds. That would hold true in the final.
Strong out of the blocks, Harrison had a slight lead over teammate Christina Manning as the pair approached the first hurdle side-by-side, one she extended as they cleared the second. The two had already created some distance on the field as they approached hurdle three, all the while Harrison padding her advantage. The order didn't change as they charged across the line, with Manning, the IAAF World Indoor Tour winner, crossing in 7.79.
"It feels amazing to finally get out there and get the job done, to get the gold I have been working so hard for," said Harrison, whose performance elevated her one notch to equal third all-time.
"I came confident and had a good feeling. As soon as I pushed out of the blocks I felt great and just kept on going."
Behind them, Sharika Nelvis was battling to complete an unprecedented national medal sweep. In clear bronze medal position off the final hurdle, she was out-leaned at the line by Dutchwoman Nadine Visser by a scant 0.02 in 7.84. The 23-year-old proved the biggest surprise of the day, entering the championships with a 7.91 personal best set earlier this season. She improved that to 7.83 in the semis and came within a whisker of equalling it in the final.
Germany's Cindy Roleder was a close fifth in 7.87. Isabelle Pedersen, who ran a lifetime best of 7.83 to reach the final, was sixth in 7.94.
Bob Ramsak for the IAAF