American Brianna Rollins completed a rare triple by capturing the world title in the 100-meter hurdles at the World Track and Field Championships on Saturday.
Rollins, who turns 22 on Sunday, recovered from a poor start to pass defending world and Olympic champion Sally Pearson of Australia, recording her biggest career victory in 12.44 seconds. Pearson, hampered by injury most of the season, held on for silver in 12.50. Michigan-born Brit Tiffany Porter earned bronze in 12.55.
Rollins’ reaction time was .263 of a second. Pearson was out in .154. Rollins, in a red, white and blue headband and high socks, had plenty of ground to make up and did so.
“I didn’t try to focus on my bad start,” Rollins told the BBC. “I just tried to focus on my own 10 hurdles and just try to finish the race strong.”
2008 Olympic champion Dawn Harper was fourth in 12.59, and another American, Queen Harrison, was fifth in 12.73.
Rollins added the first world title by an American since 2007 (Michelle Perry) to her NCAA and U.S. championships from earlier this year.
Rollins won the U.S. title in 12.26 seconds, beating Gail Devers‘ American record of 12.33 and the fastest time in the world since 1992.
Rollins reportedly dropped out of a meet earlier this summer to avoid facing Pearson head to head before worlds.
“I don’t think about my competitors,” Rollins told the BBC. “I love the competition of course, but it’s about focusing on your own 10 hurdles.”
Next up for Rollins would seemingly be a goal of breaking the world record of 12.21 held by Bulgarian Yordanko Dornkova.