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US Olympic Women's Track & Field Team: Dawn, Kellie and Lolo in 100m Hurdles

EUGENE, OR - JUNE 23: (L-R) Lolo Jones, Dawn Harper and Kellie Wells pose after qualifying for the Olympics after the women's 100 meter hurdles final during Day Two of the 2012 U.S. Olympic Track & Field Team Trials at Hayward Field on June 23, 2012 in Eugene, Oregon.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images
Red ShannonFeatured ColumnistJune 24, 2012

Once again, a strong women's 100-meter hurdles team has emerged from the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials in Eugene, Ore.

And, as often happens in the world of sports, an intriguing twist or two has already begun to weave its way into the fabric of the not-too-distant 2012 London Games.

Dawn Harper (12.73 seconds), Kellie Wells (12.77), and Lolo Jones (12.86) bucked a serious headwind to finish one-two-three in Saturday's finals.

The obvious twist of course, is the media darling Jones' return to the Olympics after her disastrous stumble in the 2008 Beijing finals, where—in the blink of an eye—she dropped from first to seventh at the ninth hurdle.

Since Beijing, she has endured that huge disappointment, injury, and back surgery. Then, finally healed and injury-free, her 2012 season had been somewhat lackluster.

In fact, she barely squeaked through her first-round race on Friday. But just in time, as she danced on the edge of elimination, she pulled herself together in the semifinals and finals to claim the last remaining Olympic slot.

Now, Jones' 11th hurdle will be the media frenzy sure to pounce from now until London.

Almost forgotten in the limelight of Lolo's celebrity is the woman who backed Jones' act in Beijing, the defending Olympic champion, Harper, who has a very good back-story of her own.

Harper—obviously, as winner of the U.S. Olympic Trials—is no slouch. She has a personal best of 12.47 and a career head-to-head record of 12-14 against Jones.

And in London, she will be out to prove her gold medal was no fluke.

Wells, the 2011 US champion, has a personal best of 12.50 and is currently third in the world with a 12.55.

These three hurdlers, who overcame a very strong finals field in Eugene, will provide a formidable U.S. presence in London.

In many ways, this version of Team USA looks like a potential re-do of Beijing 2008—except the hurdles landscape outside the borders of America has undergone somewhat of a change in the interim.

Australian sensation and 2011 world champion, Sally Pearson (12.28) and Jamaican Brigitte Foster-Hylton (12.45), the 2009 world champion, will be lying-in-wait come August.

And their presence alone may provide a twist of a different kind. 

 

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