Hurdles stars get emotional: ‘This is for the hood babies’

Emotions spilled over on the track following the women’s 100-meter hurdle final.

Masai Russell shocked the Hayward Field stadium and the track and field world by winning in an impressive time of 12.25.

Alaysha Johnson ran a personal-best 12.31 (12.302) to place second and Grace Stark, who was also the 2024 NCAA champion in the event at the University of Florida, came in third with a time of 12.31 (12.309).

Russell’s jaw-dropping time broke Gail Devers’ 24-year-old meet record and it’s the fastest time in the world this year.

Russell spoke to NBC’s Lewis Johnson after her record-breaking race and she was overjoyed with emotion that she sealed her ticket to the Paris Olympics in emphatic style.

“I have so many emotions because this has been the hardest season of my life. People were doubting me. Talking about ever since I signed with Nike I’ve been trash,” Russell said. “Just saying all these things about me. But I just stayed true to myself, my work and my craft and this is all God.”

However, it was Alaysha Johnson who had what was perhaps the most emotional postrace interview of the U.S. Olympic track and field trials.

“It was all God. Everybody all the time said I wasn’t good enough (and) said that I didn’t deserve. So, I did this my way, my team’s way and the way it was meant to be,” Alaysha Johnson said to Lewis Johnson. “This is for the hood babies, the people who are poor and come from nothing, this is for everybody that looks like me that was ever doubted. And I did it with a Black designer on my chest. This is what I stand for and I’m making a way for everybody in my position.”

Russell, Alaysha Johnson and Grace Stark are all first-time Olympians.

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