After Crashing Into Olympic Hurdle 5 Years Ago, Jasmine Camacho-Quinn Returns to Break a Record and Win Gold
Five years after disappointing herself in Rio de Janeiro, Jasmine Camacho-Quinn returned to the Summer Olympics and triumphed.
Camacho-Quinn, a 24-year-old South Carolina native who competes for Puerto Rico where her mother is from, won gold on Monday in the women's 100m hurdles. It was the territory's first place in these Games and their first-ever gold medal in athletics.
"It really means a lot," Camacho-Quinn said after her win. "This year I trained really hard. I don't have a training partner, I train by myself, so I gave it all I had and this is what I wanted for this year. I wanted to be a gold medalist and I got it."
She was running like she had never run before: During her semifinal, she set an Olympic record in the event.
"I am really excited. I have got to accept that it happened, but I am really excited that my name is up there and I have just done something great," she said on Sunday.
"I just wanted to run, and just make sure I crossed the line first. That was the main goal, I wasn't focused on the time, but it was there," Camacho-Quinn added.
Athleticism runs in the family: Camacho-Quinn's older brother, Robert Quinn, is a linebacker for the Chicago Bears. Both of her parents were college track athletes as well.
After her event final on Monday, Camacho-Quinn talked about the importance of her heritage.
"I grew up knowing my Camacho side of the family and let that be known," she said. "In 2016 I got to meet my biological grandmother and that meant a lot. She ended up passing away last year, but I got to meet my grandmother and I always wanted to."
Her victory in Tokyo also shakes off the sting of what happened in Rio, when she failed to advance in her event after crashing into a hurdle.
"I felt embarrassed, like I let the whole country down," she said in 2018, "but I also received a lot of love. Everybody was so supportive and proud of me for making it, being so young and getting out there representing Puerto Rico. I'm not going to let this race determine my future."
On Monday, she admitted, "It stays with me all the time because I am constantly reminded. Somebody always messages me and says sorry for what happened. Yesterday I kind of had a breakdown because I didn't want the same thing to happen again."
Nonetheless, "I just had to treat every race like there is no difference to any other competition. Just because it's the Olympics doesn't mean you should change up something," Camacho-Quinn said. "I ran my race and what I've done in the races is what I always do in practice. I repeated everything."
And fans rejoiced.
"I am pretty sure everybody [in Puerto Rico] is excited," she told reporters. "For such a small [territory] it gives little people hope. I am just glad I am the person to do that."
As she teared up, Camacho-Quinn continued: "I am really happy right now. Anything is possible. Everybody out here trained really hard for this moment. I think honestly all of us, we all should be rewarded for this. We made it."
To learn more about Team USA, visit TeamUSA.org. Watch the Tokyo Olympics now on NBC.