By Mike Patton
NASHVILLE, TN — Tennessee had some representatives in this year’s Olympics with Kendra “Keni” Harrison, Alex Young and Erica Bougard. All three gave their all, however, only one was able to come home with a medal.
Tennessee-born but North Carolina-raised, Keni Harrison came into the hurdles event as someone to watch. After not
making the Olympics in 2016 despite being a favorite to make the team, Harrison was determined to not only make the team, but make an impact on the track and that she did.
She made it through all her heats and landed square in the finals with a chance to win. She did not win the gold medal, but she did bring home a silver medal, which definitely had to bring her some level of satisfaction after not making it the previous time around.
Like Harrison, Young did not qualify for the Olympics in 2016 but he made it this time around. Unfortunately, he did not have the same level of success that Harrison had. Young finished 11th in Group A with a throw of 75.09 meters. Unfortunately, Young had to finish in the Top 12 or with a throw of 77.50 meters. Hopefully we will
see him in 2024 competing for the hammer throw gold medal in Paris.
Memphian Erican Bougard, like Harrison and Young, was in Tokyo competing for the Olympic gold, but her event was the heptathlon, which includes the 100m hurdles, high jump, shot put and 200 meter run, long jump, javelin and 800m run. Bougard competed hard but she just could not crack the Top 3 and she finished with 6,379 points, which placed her ninth in the heptathlon. She fell 211
points shy of getting a bronze medal and 412 points shy of the Olympic champion in the heptathlon, Belgium’s Nafissatou Thiam.
Hopefully this isn’t the last time we see these three on the Olympic stage and there will be more Black Tennesseans representing in 2024.