TOKYO, JAPAN (KTSM) – For Tobi Amusan and fans of the Nigerian hurdler, Monday morning was heartbreaking at the 2020 Olympics.
Running in the Olympic finals of the 100 meter hurdles for the first time in her career, the former UTEP track and field star finished in fourth place in 12.60 seconds, just .05 seconds behind bronze medalist Megan Tapper (Jamaica).
It was a devastating ending to Amusan’s stay at the Games. Competing in her second Olympics, Amusan had high hopes of finishing on the medal stand. Had she done so, she would’ve been just the second Nigerian to medal in the 100 meter hurdles.
Post-race, Amusan declined interview requests made by KTSM’s affiliates in Tokyo for the 2020 Olympics.
“This year, I don’t just want to just be a medal contender, I want to be a force to be reckoned with at the Games,” Amusan told KTSM before she left for Tokyo.
Getting off to a tough start in the first 25 meters of the race, it initially looked like she wouldn’t be a contender in the final. However, UTEP’s 2017 NCAA 100m hurdles champion chased down the leaders in the final 50 meters, leaning at the tape in hopes of snagging a medal. The photo finish showed just how close she was to securing the coveted spot on the podium.
Finishing in first place and taking home the gold was Jasmine Camacho-Quinn (Puerto Rico) in 12:37 seconds. Kendra Harrison (USA) won silver in 12.52 seconds, and Tapper was the bronze medalist in 12.55 seconds.
With Amusan’s heartbreaking fourth place finish, there are still only 15 UTEP Miners that have ever won a medal at the Olympics. The last time it happened was in 2008, when a trio of Nigerian Miners – Blessing Okagbare (long jump), Osayomi Oludamola (4x100m relay) and Halimat Ismaila (4x100m relay) – all won bronze medals. All three of them later had those medals turn to silvers, due to Russian doping violations.
Emmanuel Korir is the next former Miner with a shot at an Olympic medal. The Kenyan, who won a pair of national championships at UTEP, will run in the finals of the men’s 800 meters on Wednesday morning, 6:05 a.m. MT in Tokyo. Korir has the second-best odds at winning gold in the event, per Fan Duel.
There are few things worse in sports than finishing in fourth place at the Olympics. Amusan will look to use it as fuel before the 2024 Olympics in Paris, France.
“I want to thank the El Paso community and everyone that has supported me since I became a Miner,” Amusan said before the Olympics. “I really appreciate all the support I’ve been getting so far.”