article by Karen Rosen via teamusa.org
RIO DE JANEIRO – Sweep! Team USA became the first nation in Olympic history to win all three medals in the women’s 100-meter hurdles.
Brianna Rollins won the gold, Nia Ali the silver and Kristi Castlin, with a furious finish, took the bronze Wednesday night. “It’s like a sisterhood,” said Rollins, who trains with Castlin and has also known Ali for years. “I’m so grateful and blessed that we were able to accomplish this together.”
And Team USA swept without world-record holder Keni Harrison, who did not make the U.S. team from a loaded field at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Track and Field.
“You could pretty much equate us to a Dream Team,” Castlin said after the trials.
Following the race, the three Team USA athletes huddled on the track just past the finish line, waiting for the results: Rollins at 12.48 and Ali at 12.59 popped up quickly in the top two positions. There was a pause, then an outpouring of applause as Castlin came up next at 12.61.
“I knew I was in second, but I didn’t know what else happened,” Ali said. “So when we looked up at the screen, we were like, ‘Did we do it? Did we do it?’ and then we saw Kristi’s name come up, and it was like, ‘Yes!’” “We all had a good feeling that it was going to be her.”
Castlin, known as a “closer,” came from as far back as seventh place to edged Cindy Ofili of Great Britain by .02 seconds.
“I really couldn’t breathe for one second,” Castlin said. “My thing was not so much a bronze for myself but really just upholding the team. We came into this together. Track and field, a lot of times athletes go into it as individuals. But we had a different perspective. We came into it as a team, for girl power, for USA. So we were able to do the first sweep in U.S. women’s history. It feels good to be a history-maker.”
The sweep was the 61st in U.S. Olympic track and field history going back to 1896, and the first in the sport since the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, when Americans conquered the podium in the men’s 400-meter and 400-meter hurdles. It was also the first for Team USA on the women’s side in track and field.