Lopes-Schliep wins bronze in women's 100M hurdles

The Canadian Press
8/19/2008 12:23:32 PM
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BEIJING - Canada's Priscilla Lopes-Schliep won the bronze medal in the women's 100-metre hurdles at the Beijing Olympics on Tuesday.

The 25-year-old from Whitby, Ont., raced to a time of 12.64 seconds Tuesday night in a packed 91,000-seat Bird's Nest stadium.

''I feel like I've jumped out of my body, went to heaven and back,'' Lopes-Schliep said. ''This is a huge accomplishment, it went by so fast and here I am with a medal.''

Dawn Harper of the United States won gold while Sally McLellan of Australia took silver.

It took a while to sort out the medal picture. McLellan and Lopes-Schliep both finished in 12.64 while Damu Cherry of the United States and Delloreen Ennis-London finished in 12.65, resulting in a photo finish.

''When they photo finish I was looking thinking `Oh my gosh, what's the result? What's the result?' It felt like forever,'' Lopes-Schliep said. ''And when I finally saw name and then saw Sally (McLellan) in front of me, we just ran to each other and jumped.''

It was Canada's first track medal since the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, where Donovan Bailey won gold in the 100 metres and the men's 4x100 relay team also finished first.

The unheralded Lopes-Schliep had hoped to play spoiler in the Olympic final, coming into Beijing ranked No. 9 in the world. In fact, all three medallists were considered underdogs who were helped to the podium when favourite LoLo Jones stumbled near the end of the race.

''We were the underdogs, nobody expected anything out of all three of us,'' Lopes-Schliep said. ''And for us to go out there and place 1, 2, 3 and prove to the world that we are here and we are competitors, it's such an exciting feeling.''

Lopes-Schliep was coming off a big victory late last month, beating a world-class field to win the DN Galan meet in Stockholm, Sweden.

The muscular five-foot-four hurdler was one of three Canadian women in the hurdles at the 2004 Athens Games, but was coming off a long NCAA season with the University of Nebraska Cornhuskers, and didn't make it out of the preliminary round.

Former world indoor and outdoor champion Perdita Felicien of Pickering, Ont., was picked to win gold in Athens but her Games came to a disastrous ending when she crashed into the first hurdle. Angela Whyte of Edmonton went on to finish

Felicien had to bow out of Beijing with a stress fracture in her foot, while Whyte was eliminated here in the opening round. 

Priscilla Lopes-Schliep (Photo: The Canadian Press)


(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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