'Black girl magic' gives U.S. hurdles sweep

Thu Aug 18, 2016 2:01am EDT
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By Nick Mulvenney

RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - Like many black American women, Brianna Rollins, Nia Ali and Kristi Castlin have faced a good few hurdles of the metaphorical kind in their lives.

On Wednesday at the Rio Olympics, though, they successfully traversed 10 very physical barriers - 33 inches of polycarbonate and metal - to give the United States gold, silver and bronze in the 100 meters hurdles.

It was the first ever sweep of the podium in the Olympic high hurdles by women of one nation and illustrated the depth the United States have in an event where just making it through the national trials is an achievement in itself.

With world record holder Kendra Harrison and 2008 Olympic champion Dawn Harper failing to make the cut, the trio who did get their tickets to Rio decided to work together.

Gold medalist Rollins described it a "sisterhood", while Castlin added very much a 2016 twist in a phrase more often seen on social media with a hashtag in front of it.

"I think that it's just very good to be a part of this whole black girl magic movement," she said.

"We actually came into this not as individuals but as a team. We work together, we pray together and that is how we got this job done.

"It feels good to definitely be history-makers, trend-setters, moms, daughters, really just overcoming and just doing a great job and representing our country well."   Continued...

2016 Rio Olympics - Athletics - Final - Women's 100m Hurdles Final - Olympic Stadium - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - 17/08/2016. Gold medallist Brianna Rollins (USA) of USA (C), silver medallist Nia Ali (USA) of USA (R) and bronze medallist Kristi Castlin (USA) of USA (L) hold up the U.S. flag.  REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson