The SPIKES guide to… Brianna Rollins

image

She’s the fastest hurdler in the world and she’s only 21. Here are ten more things you need to know about US sprint hurdle sensation Brianna Rollins…

Mum’s the word

Her mother, Temperance, was a former 800m athlete and one of the reasons Rollins started competing in track.

Sister act

She has six younger brothers aged between 10 and 18. “They can get aggravating sometimes,” Rollins said. “But they look up to me so much. It brings me joy that I can motivate them in a positive way.”

Late starter

Brianna – pronounced brY-an-nuh, as spelled out on her twitter profile  – did not start running track until her freshman (first) year at Miami’s Northwestern High School. This was her first ever taste of organised sport.

"I wasn’t an athlete before high school and didn’t know anything about track before then," she said. "I was always told I was fast and could join a track team." At high school she chiefly excelled at 400m hurdles.

Back issues

Injury wrecked her chances of competing in the 2010 outdoor season and a recurring back injury restricted her progress in 2011, causing her to miss the NCAA outdoor Championships. 

Representing 

In June, the Clemson University student signed a pro contract with Nike and joined London-based agency Stellar Athletics, led by two-time former world 200m medallist John Regis, of Great Britain.

image

Record-chasing: Rollins is after the records of Bulgarian pair Yordanka Donkova and Ginka Zagorcheva

The Tiger has roared

Despite her injuries at college she helped the Clemson Tigers, win eight Atlantic Coast Conference team titles: four indoor and four outdoor. She also won three NCAA titles: the 2011 indoor 60m hurdles; 2013 indoor 60m hurdles, and 2013 outdoor 100m hurdles.

Experienced coach

She is coached by Lawrence Johnson, the former assistant director of Track and Field at Clemson. 

June joy

She won two USATF Athlete of the Week awards in an outstanding month. First, she blitzed to a new personal best of 12.39 to land the NCCA title. Rollins then climbed to third on the all-time 100m hurdles rankings, with a US record of 12.26 to guarantee a place in Moscow.

World record ability

Her stunning 12.26 clocking to win the US 100m hurdles titles was the fastest time for the distance in 21 years. Only 1980’s Bulgarian duo Yordanka Donkova (12.21) and Ginka Zagorcheva (12.25) have gone quicker.

In the Zone

Brianna is not one to be distracted by her rivals. After winning the NCAA 100m hurdles title she said: “I just stayed very relaxed and tried not to think about the crowd or the other opponents. I just focused on my hurdles and my own lane.”

You can follow Brianna on twitter @Bri_rollin