Series28 Dec 2015

Personal bests – Queen Harrison


US sprint hurdler Queen Harrison (© Getty Images)

Queen Harrison has consistently been among the world elite in the highly competitive women’s 100m hurdles for a number of years. We chat to the US athlete to talk about a number of key aspects in her life.

My best friend in athletics

My best friend in track and field is Will Claye (2012 world indoor triple jump champion). I find he is so focused on becoming the best athlete he can be, it becomes contagious. I personally already had high hopes and aspirations but when you are surrounded by another person with the same mind-set, it is hard not to have an attraction.

The best piece of coaching advice

From my coach Lawrence Johnson, who has said to me on numerous occasions, ‘this race is yours for the taking’. He is basically saying if you don’t believe in yourself, you have just given the race way. He believes that in all the races that I run, victory is within reach. It is best piece of advice he has given me

My greatest rival

My greatest rival is Kristi Castlin (12.56 100m hurdler). It goes way beyond racing each other. We went to college together since 2006 and I have constantly competed against her since then. We are competitors on the track but we have a great off-track friendship. We have a very healthy competitive rivalry, but because we are also friends we want each other to do well.

My best achievement in athletics

Winning both hurdles races (100m and 400m hurdles) at the 2010 NCAA Championships. It stands out because there were so many naysayers. After I made the Olympic team in 2008 in the 400m hurdles, so many people questioned why I was still competing in the 100m hurdles. For me, to accomplish that and to become a dual hurdles champion was a truly defining moment. I can still feel the goose bumps I felt that day as I crossed the line. Until I get that World Championships or Olympic gold medal, that will remain my greatest achievement.

My best achievement outside of athletics

I’m most proud of being an auntie. As soon as my nieces and nephews were born, I loved them so much with all my heart. I love being an auntie and a great role model for my nieces and nephews.

My greatest disappointment

It was the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. I was so young and back then it all came easy for me. I had everything to make the podium but I got too caught up in the Olympic hype. It consumed me and I performed badly (Harrison reached the 400m hurdles semi-finals). I could have done a lot more.

My greatest indulgence

This may sound weird but I love hair extensions – straight, curly, short, long, any kind. I’m so infatuated with changing my hairstyle. It is kind of disgusting. I keep all my hair extensions in my old Team USA duffel bag which I call my ‘Bag O’Hair.’

My best hairstyle

I love the bun on top and hair long at the back. It is like a female version of the mullet. It is like business at the front and let it all hang out party at the back.

The best athlete I have ever seen

I would say Ashton Eaton. When you have to master 10 events and be so competitive at all of them, you are a very special athlete. I remember watching him break the world decathlon record at the US Olympic Trials and he could have entered almost any of the 10 events as an individual and been competitive. He’s one of the greatest of all time.

The best athletics venue

I really like the Bird’s Nest Stadium. It was cool. The stadium and the architecture were amazing. I also remember there was very little wind inside the stadium. As an athlete it was the perfect set up.

The best pre-competition song

It’s a song called Luxury from a rapper named Azealia Banks. It is not a ‘get excited sort of a song’, but it is more, ‘I’m ready to put on a show and I am that girl right now’. I also love anything by Beyonce.

Steve Landells for the IAAF