'Black girl magic' sweeps away hurdles in its path

'SISTERHOOD': The United States swept all three medals for the 100 metres hurdles, with (from left) Castlin securing the bronze, Rollins winning the gold and Ali earning the silver on Wednesday.


    Aug 19, 2016

    'Black girl magic' sweeps away hurdles in its path

    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 in Rio, 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 metres 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 US 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 medallist 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.

    Castlin dedicated her bronze medal to victims of gun crime, a cause very close to her heart after her father was murdered in a botched attempt to rob a hotel where he was the manager.

    Her fellow medallists have also had to deal with major challenges in their early lives - Ali, when her father killed himself in a murder-suicide, and Rollins, when her father was sent to prison.